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Man gets 18 months for poking holes in girlfriend's condoms

A Nova Scotia man convicted of sexual assault for poking holes in his girlfriend’s condoms and having intercourse with her was given an 18-month prison sentence Friday in a case the Crown said was without precedent.

Craig Hutchinson, 41, attempted to hug his father but was pulled back by officers and taken into custody after he was sentenced in provincial Supreme Court in Halifax.

Judge Richard Coughlan said Hutchinson’s pre-meditated actions in piercing the condoms and his breach of trust with the woman were aggravating factors in the case.

“Incarceration is the only suitable way to express society’s condemnation of Mr. Hutchinson’s conduct,” Coughlan said.

Hutchinson’s mother buried her face in her hands and sobbed loudly as the sentence was delivered.

The Clyde River, N.S., man was convicted in September but found not guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

At the time, Coughlan said the woman only consented to sex on the understanding intact condoms were being used, and that Hutchinson knew she didn’t want to have a baby.

The woman became pregnant and had an abortion in the fall of 2006, and later suffered an infection of her uterus, which was treated with antibiotics.

Coughlan found that Hutchinson sabotaged the condoms and aimed to have a baby with the woman, who cannot be identified under a court-ordered publication ban.

The judge said Hutchinson later told the woman about the sabotaged condoms through text messages.

Crown lawyer Kim McOnie argued earlier in the day that Hutchinson’s crime warranted a two-year prison term because he exhibited no remorse for what happened.

Outside court, she said the case was unusual.

“Because there was no precedent for it, I think both the road to conviction and getting a custodial sentence was a bit of an uphill battle,” McOnie said outside court.

“Certainly, the Crown is pleased with today’s decision.”

During his sentencing arguments, defence lawyer Patrick MacEwen told the court that Hutchinson exhibited no violence and should receive a two-year suspended sentence followed by probation.

“As far as sexual assault cases are concerned, this is at the low end of the scale,” he said.

Coughlan disagreed.

“A suspended sentence would be totally inadequate given the facts present here,” he said.

In a previous trial for the same offence, Hutchinson was found not guilty of aggravated sexual assault. But that 2009 decision was overturned by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, which ordered a new trial.

Coughlan also ordered Hutchinson to be placed on the federal sex offender registry for 20 years.