Sexual offender loses appeal of parole board decision

James Sidney Bell appealed the decision, invoked in June 2020 after the board learned he failed to report a relationship with a woman, as a violation of his conditions of release. In a decision issued Nov. 17, the parole board’s appeal division upheld the verdict.

Bell is serving a three-year sentence, issued in July 2018, for making and distributing child pornography in the form of stories and luring a young teenage girl over the internet. At the time of his arrest, police also uncovered more than 100 images and one video depicting children in a full range of sexually-explicit situations.

He was granted day parole in December 2019. Correctional Service Canada reported the breaches to the parole board in May 2020 and a parole board panel subsequently confirmed revocation of his day parole in June 2020.

On sign-out sheets at the community residential facility where he was staying, Bell had claimed he was going for a walk or to buy groceries when, in fact, he was going to the home of the woman and her 17-year-old daughter.

Bell initially claimed he was working at the home and did not enter the residence. When his parole officer said she would follow up with the woman, Bell admitted he entered the home, kissed the woman and met her teenage daughter.

He also told the woman he was serving a sentence for drug offences, not sexual offences involving children, and possessed a cellphone with internet access which he said was given to him by another woman with whom he also had a sexual relationship.

In appealing the decision, Bell had contended in part that it was “totally unreasonable and very unnecessary” because he had support in the community willing to work with him once out on parole.

In response, the appeals division said: “The existence of prosocial community supports is certainly a protective factor that can mitigate an offender’s risk to reoffend. But, community supports do not, by themselves, serve to mitigate risk to such a degree that an offender could be considered as a manageable risk in the community.”

A decision requiring him to serve his statutory release in a halfway house was issued in July 2020. Statutory release is issued after an offender has served two-thirds of a sentence.
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