Originally published in Medicine Hat News
A man who pled guilty to kidnapping a Medicine Hat cab driver and sexually assaulting her before driving to Calgary and abandoning her was sentenced Friday to six years imprisonment.
Shaun Thomas Baldhead, 29, appeared from the prisoner’s box at his sentencing at Medicine Hat Provincial Court.
“What you were involved in that night from a societal perspective is reprehensible,” Judge Eric Brooks said in his ruling. “I don’t think there are very many people who can excuse that.”
With credit for time served, Baldhead will spent 1,191 days in prison, or 3.26 years.
According to the agreed statement of facts, on Nov. 24, 2016 around 10 p.m., Baldhead approached the victim’s taxi posing as a fare.
He asked if she could pull over at a bank so he could withdraw money.
When he returned to the vehicle, he got into the back seat and told her he had a gun before taking over the taxi.
He then parked in the Riverside neighbourhood, forcing the victim to perform oral sex on him.
Baldhead then drove the victim to Calgary, stopping for gas briefly in Brooks.
He told her that if she moved, he would shoot the attendant.
Baldhead also used the victim’s cell phone to make multiple calls, threatening to murder her family if she told anyone about the kidnapping and sexual assault.
Around 2 a.m. he dropped the victim off in the middle of Calgary.
After she provided a detailed description of Baldhead to Calgary police, including a tattoo on his left cheek, the accused was found on a Calgary Transit bus.
He was on the bus because he had left the cab in a field, setting it on fire from the inside.
The victim needed to take four months off work as a result from the trauma she endured.
Brooks noted how the totalled vehicle was the victim’s “sole source of income.”
During the sentencing submissions in April, the Crown requested six to eight years, later asking for nine.
Defence lawyer Robin McIntyre requested four years and eight months.
As aggravating factors, Brooks cited the victim’s vulnerability as a 50-year-old working grandmother, the fact the kidnapping took place over a span of four hours and that he threatened to shoot her twice.
Although Baldhead is young, “he is quite mature with regard to his relationship to the court system,” Brooks noted.
He cited as mitigating factors Baldhead’s guilty plea, which spared the victim of having to re-live her trauma through cross-examination, his co-operation with police and the Gladue report that was prepared for him as an aboriginal offender, which outlines a background Brooks called “tragic beyond description” and “a recipe for disaster.”
In addition to the prison sentence, Baldhead is required to pay $820 restitution for the taxi’s ticketing and towing in Calgary.
“It is difficult for me to imagine what she went through that night,” Brooks said, referring to the victim.
After she presented her victim impact statement to the court in July, Baldhead expressed his remorse, apologizing to the victim.
“I hope (it was) sincere,” Brooks concluded Friday.