A judge has sentenced a former RCMP officer to a two-year sentence served in the community for crimes against a 16-year-old girl, including assault.
Osama Ibrahim's conditional sentence will see him serve the first nine months on house arrest, and the remainder subject to conditions including that he have no contact with his victim or her family, who live in Saint John.
"Taking into consideration the principles of sentencing ... a lengthy conditional jail sentence in the community is appropriate in this case," said provincial court Judge Kelly Winchester, in delivering her sentence at the Saint John courthouse on Friday afternoon.
"As I have noted, this is a case that requires a denunciatory message. That message can be delivered by a jail sentence in the community."
Following a judge-alone trial, Ibrahim, 29, was found guilty last month of assault, choking during an assault, carrying, using or threatening to use a weapon during an assault and breach of trust.
He was also tried for sexual assault, but Winchester acquitted him of that charge.
The incidents occurred in late 2021 and early 2022 in Saint John, when Ibrahim was 27, and the victim, whose name is protected by a publication ban, was 16.
Winchester said the conditions of his house arrest will require him to remain at his sister's residence in Laval, Que. He can only leave the house if it's a medical emergency, to go to work, or to run personal errands for a three-hour period on Wednesdays.
Once his nine-month house arrest is complete, he'll still be subject to several conditions for a year and three months, including to have no contact with the victim and her family. He will also be prohibited from visiting Saint John, and will not be allowed to possess any weapons, Winchester said.
"You've committed a very serious offence that will have a long-lasting impact on many people," Winchester said to Ibrahim, who sat in the gallery of the courtroom dressed in black clothing.
Trust in police compromised
After giving her sentence, Winchester addressed the victim's father, who was in the gallery of the courtroom.
"I wish you all well in your healing process," said Winchester, who'd earlier noted her decision might not be satisfactory for the family.
Earlier in Friday's proceedings, Winchester heard Crown prosecutor Christopher Lavigne read parts of the victim and her family's victim impact statements on their behalf.
Referring to the victim's statement, Lavigne said the assault and breach of trust has led to her struggling with her mental health.
He said she's suffered from depression and has difficulties attending school.
"She says her trust in people, especially the police, has been compromised and she no longer feels safe around authority," Lavigne said.
"And that comment, your honour, is one that I noticed in a couple of the reports and one that should be troubling to the court."
Lavigne also referred to victim impact statements from the girl's parents.
He said her father feels guilt about initially trusting Ibrahim, and that the ordeal has led to him giving up the business he owned.
The victim's mother also now worries about her daughters, adding that she and her husband chose to give up their business to be close to them.
"She said, and I quote 'I have no trust in police anymore,'" Lavigne said.
Ibrahim's trial revealed he met the victim in the fall of 2021, and he started spending a lot of time around her family, eventually expressing an interest in marrying her.
Ibrahim will spend the first nine months of his conditional sentence on house arrest, and the remainder of his sentence will see him subject to the conditions that he have no contact with the victim and her family, and that he not visit Saint John. (Name withheld)
While the girl's parents said she was too young to contemplate marriage, they allowed Ibrahim to court her.
The girl testified at trial that during their time together, Ibrahim would often manhandle her and that he tried to put his hands on her breasts.
She also said Ibrahim often put his hands around her neck and choked her. She said he told her he wanted to see how long she could take it.
'I feel very remorseful,' says Ibrahim
Before delivering her sentence, Winchester gave Ibrahim a chance to address her directly.
He said he wanted to apologize to everyone in court, and hoped that what he did did not erode the public's trust in the police.
"I feel very remorseful," he said.
"I would love the public to have trust in police officers, and not because I made a mistake that everybody is in the same boat."
Ibrahim also said he's "lost everything," including his job as an RCMP officer, and that he feels "completely destroyed" by what he's done.
Lavigne earlier revealed that Ibrahim has resigned from the RCMP, and his resignation will take effect as of Feb. 5.
Earlier in the proceedings, Lavigne recommended Ibrahim be sentenced to spend time in jail, while focusing mainly on Ibrahim's conviction of criminal breach of trust.
He brought up a handful of other cases where police officers faced convictions for the same charge, and were later sentenced to, at least in one example, nine months in jail.
He said for the purpose of denouncing the crime and deterring other police officers from potentially committing it, a jail term of between 12 and 15 months was appropriate for Ibrahim.
"From my perspective I would suggest the sentence can't be served in the community because that would send the wrong message," Lavigne said.
Defence lawyer T.J. Burke recommended a conditional sentence of 12 months.