Upskirting senior citizen wins appeal for reduced sentence

Burnaby Now

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A man in his 70s caught videoing up the skirts of young girls at a Burnaby mall has won an appeal to get more credit for time served and a shorter probation.

Dennis Dwight Russell was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail (minus 356 days credit for time served) and three years’ probation after pleading guilty in January 2018 to voyeurism and breaching a long-term supervision order.

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On April 25, 2017, a mall cop at Metrotown mall had observed Russell and noticed he would “shuffle his backpack” when young girls walked by him, according to a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling last month.

“At one point, Mr. Russell placed his open backpack under the skirt of a young female standing in line at the food court,” stated the ruling.

Security officers arrested Russell and called police, who found a digital camera in his backpack as well as a number of digital storage cards containing about 63 videos of views up the skirts of about 85 young women or girls, some wearing school uniforms.

“One digital storage card was labelled ‘Catholic School and another labelled ‘Lulu,’” stated the ruling.

Other videos appeared to depict Russell following young women or girls from location to location.

At the time of his arrest, he had been under a long-term supervision order imposed after convictions in 2005 for sexual assault and juvenile prostitution involving 15-year-old and 13-year-old girls.

Russell has numerous convictions of sexual assault, child pornography, juvenile prostitution and failing to comply with bail conditions dating back to 1987.

He appealed his latest sentence, arguing the judge had not given him the correct pre-sentence custody credit, imposed an unfit sentence and mistakenly imposed a three-year probation order.

The court of appeal accepted parts of his argument, agreeing the sentencing judge hadn’t correctly calculated Russell’s pre-sentence custody credit and incorrectly increased his probation period from 18 months to three years after having already sentenced him at the hearing.

The appeals court cut Russell’s sentence by 27 days and reduced his probation period to 18 months.

But the court didn’t budge on the fitness of his sentence.

“When Mr. Russell was arrested for voyeurism, he was bound by a (long-term supervision order), which was imposed for serious sexual offending against young girls,” stated the decision, written by Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein. “The judge considered the circumstances and the nature of the offences in the context of Mr. Russell’s criminal history, including a history of breaching conditions.”

The mall cop who caught Russell, Carlos Alvarez-Delgado, was recognized by Burnaby RCMP with a citation from the detachment’s officer in charge, Chief Supt. Deanne Burleigh at an awards ceremony last May.