‘He stole their childhoods’
Snow’s sentencing decision reserved until Nov. 24
JASON MALLOY SALTWIRE email@example.com @Jasonma47772994
James Michael Snow and his victims will have to wait another week to find out how long he will spend behind bars on 18 historical sex-related charges involving five girls.
The former Hants County man’s sentencing hearing got underway Thursday in Windsor provincial court. After a full day of proceedings, Judge Chris Manning said he would render his decision Nov. 24 in Kentville.
The judge said it would provide him time to review the case law that Snow referenced in his submissions.
“I’d like to balance some of your comments with what the Crown has said,” Manning told Snow.
Crown prosecutor Rob Kennedy called Snow a dangerous person.
“He is an ongoing threat to children in our community,” Kennedy said in his sentencing submissions. “He is a sexual predator, has been for roughly 40 years. Children need to be protected from Mr. Snow. He has truly blazed a trail of destruction behind him. For the victims, he stole their childhoods.”
Snow, 63, stood trial on 41 charges.
Manning delivered his verdict May 5, convicting Snow on four counts each of sexual assault and sexual interference, three counts of invitation to sexual touching, two counts of gross indecency, and single counts of sexual exploitation, incest, attempting to overcome resistance by suffocation, committing an indecent act, and attempting to obtain sexual services for consideration from someone under the age of 18.
Kennedy said Snow’s actions weren’t impulsive.
“His actions were premeditated, deliberate and protracted,” he said.
“Mr. Snow has single-handedly destroyed any semblance of normalcy in the lives of these five women.”
The Crown asked for a sentence of 25 years in prison less remand credit. Snow, who is representing himself, suggested 15 years with credit for time served while on remand and in lockdown.
The offences were committed between 1984 and 1998, mainly in Walton, Hants County, where Snow lived at the time. One of the sexual assaults took place in Halifax in 1988.
The incest charge involves Snow’s eldest daughter, Mandy Wood, who did not want her identity protected. There’s a publication ban on the identities of the other victims.
The sexual abuse ranged from exposure to attempted intercourse. The victims were between the ages of four and 17 when they were molested.
As Kennedy provided details of the offences, Snow sometimes shook his head slightly or put his hand on his forehead. The prosecutor said the presentence report noted Snow continues to deny the charges.
One of the five victims submitted a victim impact statement that Kennedy read parts of during his submissions.
“I don’t know the person I may have been if none of this had ever happened,” she wrote. “I didn’t get a chance to find out.”
At the beginning of the appearance, Snow requested an adjournment, saying he was having a hard time reviewing all the documents because of his eyesight and wanted legal advice.
Snow said he had only had some of the documents for a few days.
“There’s no way that I can sit here and challenge anybody or anything without going through the documents thoroughly with somebody who can tell me what the terminology means,” he said.
He acknowledged he had some documents for longer but said sometimes files are misplaced or lost while incarcerated. Snow said he reached out to lawyers for help and they suggested he request an adjournment.
Manning declined the request, noting the Criminal Code requires sentencing to occur soon after a decision. Manning noted it had been more than six months since his verdict, but Snow’s request for documents did not come until Nov. 6.
Snow said he had thought one of the lawyers who represented him during the trial was working on sentencing submissions. She withdrew from the case Oct. 24.
Kennedy said the Crown “went above and beyond to assist Mr. Snow in making this a fair procedure for him.”
Snow said the fine print of some of the documents was hard for him to read for very long.
“I’m not making excuses; I’m just telling you the truth,” Snow said. “This is just unfair. I am not prepared to go through with this today at all.”
He suggested a delay of three to four months would be adequate.
“There was all that time to get yourself ready for sentencing,” Manning said. “I told you the last time we met that it cannot go on and on and on.”