Monday, November 12, 2012

Calgary woman sentenced for falsely accusing her father of sexual assault

My only question in this case, is why hasn't she been remanded for a psychiatric hold, if she attempted suicide. House arrest and later a curfew seems awfully light for falsely accusing her father.

A Calgary woman who falsely accused her father of sexually assaulting her two years ago has been placed under house arrest for the first year of a conditional sentence of two years less a day.

In sentencing Lori Gnam on Tuesday, provincial court Judge John Bascom said it was aggravating that the 40-year-old woman perpetuated the lie to police, hospital staff and social workers for four months.

“An aggravating factor is the nature of the charge, which not only has the potential of harming an individual, but presents potential harm to the public through the system of courts and justice,” said Bascom.

“In addition, Ms. Gnam continued with these allegations from October 2010 to February 2011. She was an active participant, in that she provided a (sworn) statement to the authorities as well as contacting the investigating officer with queries why her father was not charged. This leads to the conclusion that her moral blameworthiness is relatively high.”

Crown prosecutor Julie Morgan had sought a federal penitentiary sentence, because of the seriousness of the false accusations, but Bascom sided with defence lawyer Steve Jenuth’s argument for a non-custodial penalty.

Bascom said the allegation arose out of a genuine suicide attempt where Gnam deliberately injured herself by inserting scissors into her rectum.

She had told her parents with who she lived on Oct. 5, 2010, that she would no longer contribute financially to household and other expenses, An argument ensued and the accused’s male friend became involved with her father.

Paramedics attended and dealt with her, as it was believed she was suffering from a spasm and complained of stomach pains. She was taken to hospital and released, but returned two days later with the self-inflicted wounds. While at hospital, she told her male friend’s daughter what her father had done to her.

Police lead Det. Marlene Hope of the police sex crimes unit spoke to the accused’s surgeon and became suspicious, then questioned the validity of the claims. However, Gnam continued the false allegations, leaving lengthy messages on the officer’s phone complaining why the investigation was taking so long and that her father had not been jailed.

Finally, Hope confronted Gnam in a meeting on Feb. 22, 2011, and the accused admitted she had lied and fabricated the allegations of sexual assault.

Her father was never arrested or charged.

Gnam, as part of her sentence, must be her home 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for medical and other emergencies, work or school, and counselling and treatment as directed by her supervisor. She also must not possess or consume and alcohol or non-prescription drugs and perform 150 hours of community service.

The house arrest will be replaced by a curfew for the final year.

Gnam also may not have any contact whatsoever with her parents.