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Saturday, September 19, 2009

From Holly Desimone

No Trial For Sex Offender

Calgary Sun / 09/19/09

The convicted sex offender Mounties tracked down in the U.S. to bring to court 30 years after a B.C. child was raped saw criminal charges against him stayed by the B.C. Supreme Court.

The ruling was made after court heard Wilbur James Ventling's Charter Rights were violated by a protracted extradition process to bring him before the Canadian justice system.

Ventling, 63, was set to stand trial this week before a jury for the rape of a nine-year-old Vernon girl in the late 1970s.

"The defence raised Charter issues from a delay of process application and earlier today, the presiding judge in the case has stayed charges against Mr. Ventling," Vernon/North Okanagan RCMP spokesman Gordon Molendyk said yesterday.

"The RCMP is very disappointed with the outcome of this case as it has taken many years and many hours of investigation to get to this point."

The American, a registered sex offender who has a prior sex assault conviction in the U.S., was arrested October 2007 at his Nevada home, where he was living with his wife.

He was charged with one count of rape and one of causing bodily harm with intent to wound stemming from a 1979 attack on the pre-teen in Vernon.

The girl was lured by a man saying he needed help to find his cat before she was raped.

At the time, he was said to be a possible suspect in early several Calgary-area sex attacks dating back to the '70s.

Earlier court documents outline how a bloody fingerprint on a fast-food napkin found at the Vernon crime scene helped cops finally break the case.

DNA evidence analyzed years later matched a sample taken six months after the Vernon attack from a man arrested near Taber regarding a Calgary investigation -- providing a compelling argument to extradite Ventling to Canada to face charges in that attack in December 2007.

Neil MacKenzie, communications counsel with the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch, said it is premature to say if an appeal will be made.

But he was willing to summarize arguments made by Crown prosecutor, Dave Ruse, before Justice Lance Bernard.

"The defence applied for a judicial stay of proceedings on the basis of excessive delay of the matter coming to trial and the court found there had been a delay of over 10 years from the time of Mr. Ventling's release in the States (after an earlier sex crime conviction), and his extradition to Canada and trial proceeding here," he said.

"The court found he should have been brought to trial without such a lengthy delay and found it brought prejudice to the accused."

The Crown has 30 days to appeal the ruling, and is studying the judge's decision.


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