Nurse guilty of sex assaults wants to serve sentence in community

Abihudi Imbai's lawyer asks judge to exclude his name from Canada's sex offender registry

Abihudi Imbai can no longer work as a nurse in B.C.

Abihudi Imbai can no longer work as a nurse in B.C.

A former nurse who kissed two patients while they were sedated wants his name kept out of Canada’s sex offender registry.

At the conclusion of a sentencing hearing Friday in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court, Abihudi Imbai’s lawyer requested a conditional discharge for his client, which would keep Imbai out of prison.

“I’m asking, Your Honour, to let this man go on with his life,” said Daniel Markovitz, Imbai’s lawyer.

“To further stigmatize this man by putting on the sex offender registry would be unfair.”

Imbai, 35, was convicted on two counts of sexual assault last August following a three-day trial .

Known on the ward as “Nurse Abbi”, he inappropriately touched and kissed two sedated women at Ridge Meadows Hospital on June 11, 2012.

Imbai, however, has been unwilling to accept responsibility with his his lawyer arguing Friday, the former registered nurse believed he was doing nothing wrong.

Markovitz claimed Imbai was just trying to make his patients comfortable but his behaviour had the opposite effect.

“He cares for his patients,” Markovitz told the court, adding Imbai now understands his behaviour is not considered appropriate in “our society.”

“I ask Your Honour to accept the fact that this man was not acting in a way that he believed was breaching their sexual integrity. He is on the lowest end of what we call sexual assault.”

Markovitz told Judge Garth Smith that Imbai can no longer work as a nurse so he’s been punished already.

“The fact that a sexual assault will be on his file and follow him for the rest of his life is denunciation enough.”

Markovitz’s unusual request to keep Imbai off Canada’s sex offender registry threw a wrench into sentencing proceedings because it’s rarely granted by the courts.  In April 2011, the  Criminal Code was amended to make SOIRA orders mandatory for people convicted of sex offences.

Judge Smith was set to sentence Imbai Friday but adjourned proceedings so Crown could prepare arguements against the request to exclude Imbai from the sex offender registry.

Crown prosecutor James Powrie has asked the court to impose either a prison term of between three or four months or an 18-month conditional sentence on Imbai.

“Given Mr. Imbai’s denial of the offence, it is impossible to say whether this offence was motivated by any cultural misunderstanding,” Powrie argued.

“The Crown’s position is that it is a matter of common sense and human experience and that the only conclusion to draw is, that this was an offence motivated by sexual gratification.”

Sentencing is set to resume in June.

Conditional Discharge

A conditional discharge means you’re on probation with conditions (described above). If you obey the conditions until the end of the probation, then the law treats you as if you had not been convicted of a crime. But if you don’t obey the conditions, or you don’t finish the probation, you can be charged with breach of probation.

Removing discharge records

The RCMP removes from its records absolute discharges 1 year after the date of the sentence and conditional discharges 3 years after the date of the sentence. But for all discharges before July 24, 1992, you have to make a written request to remove the discharge.

– The Canadian Bar Association