Sarnia man avoids jail after refusing to help police find a missing teen

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A Sarnia man in his twenties won’t spend any time in jail after he failed to help police find a missing 13 year-old girl.

Sarnia court heard July 15, the man had been talking with the 13 year-old for a number of months.

Then, in June 2019, he convinced her to come see her. The girl snuck out her home to meet him in person.

Her worried parents called police.

During their search police questioned the man – who cannot be named to protect the identity of the girl – but he didn’t give any information which would help find her. The girl was eventually found safe and unharmed.

The man was arrested on a number of charges. The only charge he was found guilty of in court was obstructing a police investigation.

Defense lawyer Luigi Perzia says his client “is a nice guy who’s been through a lot and taken steps to address things that he has been struggling with… given the gravity of the offense for which he’s been convicted… a conditional discharge would be appropriate in the circumstances.

“The Crown and defense made a joint submission of a conditional discharge with an 18-month probation term. If the man observes all of the terms he will not have a criminal record.

“You faced very serious charges relating to an incident when you were in the company of a very young person who had snuck out of her house to meet with you. She was a missing person and your lack of cooperation and your obstruction of that investigation was what the court found you guilty of,” says Justice Deborah Austin.

“The whole scenario was quite significant, and the safety of that young person was really at the root of the investigation being conducted by police.”

But Austin was pleased with steps the man has taken since the incident, including entering counselling and expressed remorse for the incident.

“You appear to have gained some insight and you’re making better choices.”

Under terms of the probation the man can have no contact with the girl. He will also have to continue counselling.