(News Bulletin file)

Vancouver Island restaurant owner sentenced for sexual interference with a minor

Talal El Bakkar sentenced in Nanaimo court to nine months’ jail time

The owner of a downtown Nanaimo restaurant has been handed a three-month jail sentence for an incident involving sex with a minor.

Talal El Bakkar, 66, pleaded guilty to sexual interference of a person under 16 in provincial court in Nanaimo on Friday. Judge Douglas Cowling sentenced El Bakkar to prison time to be served on weekends, as well as a three-year probation order.

The identity of the minor, as well as some of the circumstances, are protected, but during sentencing, it was revealed the incident occurred in June 2015 after the girl had texted Bakkar, telling him she had been at a party and drinking and requested a ride home. It was decided she would spend the night at Bakkar’s residence. He admits to engaging in sexual intercourse with her. The victim was 15 years old at the time, but El Bakkar claimed she had said she was 19 years old, something Leanne Mascolo, Crown counsel, said the victim had denied.

El Bakkar didn’t have a previous criminal record and during sentencing, Michael Ritzker, defence counsel, said that his client had been subject to attacks mounted against his client by “self-righteous social justice warriors” through social media and vandalism to his property. He was attacked by a person wielding a knife outside his restaurant, Aladdin’s Café, but wasn’t harmed, and businesses cancelled contracts with the café.

A pre-sentence report detailed how El Bakkar had suffered a number of head injuries, including an incident in January 2004, when he was found lying on the ground, bleeding and unconscious. According to the pre-sentence report, family members said that El Bakkar’s behaviour changed after this;he was described as a shell of his former self, has a temper sometimes and rambles.

Ritzker said his client was ashamed, and submitted letters and called on witnesses to speak in favour of El Bakkar. Long-time Nanaimo resident Mike Gogo, who has known El Bakkar for 20 years, said he couldn’t speak to the offences, but told Cowling of numerous instances of El Bakkar’s generosity, including an instance when he gave food to a person who had been searching in the restaurant’s dumpster.

Ritzker also pointed out that El Bakkar has been on probation for the past three years and has abided by the rules.

As part of El Bakkar’s probation, he may not hire people under 16 years of age to work at his restaurant. He can’t be in the presence of someone 16 years old or under unless they are in the presence of a parent or it is incidentally at his business. He may not take a paid or volunteer position where he is in a position of trust with people under 16 years of age. He must not have any contact with the victim. He will also be required to be registered on the national sexual offender registry for 10 years and must follow a curfew order (between 9:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.) for nine months.

Mascolo said the victim didn’t respond to messages, take part in the pre-sentence report, nor provide a victim impact statement.

Note: Previous version had incorrect information regarding sentencing.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria woman reunited with lost family photos dating back to 1970s

‘You can watch their family grow up in these photos,’ says woman who found the box of forgotten photos

Cirque du Soleil brings dazzling ice show Axel to Victoria this spring

Axel includes acrobatics, ice skating, live music and more

Escaped Metchosin inmate sentenced to additional year tacked on to 14-year sentence

Man escaped from William Head Institution arrested days later in Esquimalt

Municipal watchdog call Victoria councillors’ request for salary increase is ‘boneheaded’

Grumpy Taxpayer$ wish to see reductions in councillor wages to meet local average

New, feature-length documentary on missing woman Emma Fillipoff comes out next year

The film follows Fillipoff’s disappearance and the ongoing investigation

VIDEO: The sticky truth about winter moths and how Greater Victoria arborists fight them

Winter moths have ‘killed a lot of trees’ across the region, says Oak Bay arborist

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

EDITORIAL: It’s time to face the truth on drug use

The homeless don’t own the drug epidemic

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Sentencing scheduled Tuesday for man who killed Belgian tourist

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Sakkalis near Boston Bar

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Most Read