A Victoria shipyard rigger has been sentenced to 90 days in jail followed by two years of probation after pleading guilty to a sexual offence involving a seven-year-old girl.
Michael Lockhart, 55, pleaded guilty in Victoria provincial court to the charge of invitation to sexual touching. Crown prosecutor Patrick Weir told Judge Evan Blake that the girl had known Lockhart her whole life. He was a family friend and had a relationship with the girl’s mother.
One evening, between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2014, the girl’s mother asked Lockhart to look after her daughter at his place. Lockhart removed his clothing and asked the child to remove her clothing. He asked her to touch his penis, which she did, Weir said. When he touched her vagina, she told him to stop.
Later, the child told her parents what had happened. They phoned police and Lockhart was arrested, Weir said.
Defence lawyer Jeremy Carr told the court that Lockhart’s conviction means he will lose his security clearance and his job. “He understands this and has taken full responsibility for this,” Carr said. “It’s hoped upon release he will look for employment in Fort McMurray or somewhere where he can continue in his trade.”
Lockhart has the support of his family, Carr said. He looks after his mother, who was ill with cancer at the time.
“At the time in question, he was dealing with a number of financial issues and pressure and was self-medicating with alcohol,” Carr said.
“There is not a lot that he can recall during that time. He does know that he has spent other time with this young person and always looked after her just fine. On the day in question, he had been drinking and does not dispute what happened.”
He is extremely remorseful, Carr said.
Blake called Lockhart’s behaviour “shockingly inappropriate.”
“The fact that Parliament has set out a mandatory minimum charge of 90 days is an indication of just how serious this is,” the judge said.
“If the matter had proceeded by indictment, there is a maximum penalty of 10 years. It’s not something we take lightly.”
During his probation, Lockhart is prohibited from contacting the child and other members of her family.
He must complete counselling — including sexual abuse prevention — if directed by his probation officer.
Blake also ordered Lockhart to give a sample of his DNA to the authorities.