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    Merritt man placed on protection order, must stay away from young relative – Kamloops News

    Merritt man placed on protection order, must stay away from young relative – Kamloops News

    Must stay away from girl

    A Merritt man has been ordered by a judge to stay away from his young relative after she accused him of touching her sexually at a family gathering.

    The 21-year-old man, who cannot be named under a court-ordered publication ban in place to protect the identity of the complainant, agreed to abide by the terms of a protection order during a hearing Tuesday in Kamloops provincial court.

    The complainant was nine when the incident was alleged to have taken place. She told another relative that the man sexually touched her repeatedly while in a swimming pool at a family gathering during the summer of 2021.

    The man was charged with sexual interference of a person under 16 and the case was set for trial this week. Those plans were recently shelved.

    “The process of putting the complainant through the trial process was something that was going to impact her greatly,” Crown prosecutor Leah Winters said in court. “She was already starting to withdraw from people in her life.”

    Winters and defence lawyer Cam Johnson worked out the terms of a peace bond that will see the accused spend the next year under strict conditions intended to keep the complainant safe.

    Johnson said the accused was diagnosed as schizophrenic after the incident.

    For 12 months, he will be prohibited from having any contact with the complainant or her sister. He will also be required to report to a probation officer and follow the direction of mental-health professionals.

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