Sentence upheld for molester

A man found guilty of molesting a young girl will have to serve his sentence in jail after the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed an application to have it served as a conditional sentence order.

The appeal by Michael Scott Horswill was dismissed Friday, about 1 1/2 months after the Supreme Court of Canada denied his application to have the verdict overturned.

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In January 2016, following a five-day trial, Horswill was found guilty of molesting the four-year-old daughter of a family friend in July 2013 while staying overnight at a cabin near Prince George.

In the process of sentencing Horswill, the judge was asked to ignore the mandatory minimum of at least one year in jail.

In November 2016, an Ontario Superior Court Justice struck down the mandatory minimum for a man convicted of the same offence and sentenced him to seven months in jail followed by two years probation.

But in December 2016, B.C. Supreme Court Justice James Williams rejected Horswill's application and a month later sentenced him to 14 months in jail followed by 30 months probation. His name was also added to the national sex offender registry for 20 years.

In the most-recent decision, the Court of Appeal agreed with Horswill's counsel's argument that Williams erred in his conclusion that the mandatory minimum imposed by the Criminal Code was constitutional.

But the Court of Appeal nonetheless found he did not err in concluding on the facts of the case that a conditional sentence order was not appropriate.

Had Horswill won the appeal, he would have been able to serve the sentence in the community where he could continue to live at home and go to work but remain subject to various restrictions, including a curfew.

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