Convicted sex offender’s constitutional challenge won’t be heard until the fall

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The constitutional challenge by massage therapist Dennis Baltazar to legislation which prohibits conditional sentences for sex offenders won’t be heard until the fall.

Crown and defence lawyers appeared in Court of Queen’s Bench remotely Friday to adjourn Baltazar’s case until June, when Justice Willie deWit’s fall schedule will be available.

Defence counsel Jennifer Ruttan told Justice David Gates in Criminal Appearance Court that her Charter challenge will have to be heard before Baltazar faces a sentencing hearing before deWit.

She said deWit’s assistant indicated his fall schedule wouldn’t be available until the end of May so she asked that the case return to court on June 16 to set a date for her application.

And Ruttan agreed with Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail that the time between now and her Charter challenge will be waived by the defence as it pertains to an unreasonable delay application.

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But Ruttan wants to challenge a section of the Criminal Code which prohibits conditional sentences, which allow offenders to serve “custodial” terms in the community, often under house arrest, or on curfew instead of behind bars.

On March 9, Baltazar was convicted of molesting 11 male clients during therapy sessions.

In rejecting Baltazar‘s denials he touched any of the men’s genitals intentionally, deWit called his evidence “implausible,” “untenable” and straining “the bounds of credulity.

When I consider the similar fact evidence, where the accused has alleged to have made this kind of contact with respect to numerous complainants without noticing, the evidence of Mr. Baltazar becomes even more implausible and is so unlikely that my view (is) his denial does not raise a reasonable doubt,” the judge wrote.

Mr. Baltazar‘s denial that he had no knowledge of making contact with (one complainant’s) genitals on 10 occasions in a short period of time strains the bounds of credulity and is untenable.

Baltazar, 46, is not in custody and was not in court Friday.

KMartin@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

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