*EDITOR’S NOTE – A previous version of this story implied the victim had told Clarke she was 15 before they had sex. In fact, the girl testified at trial that she did not tell Clarke her age at any point. MBC apologizes for any confusion the earlier version of this story may have caused.
The Saskatchewan court of appeal has reserved its decision in the case of a Buffalo Narrows man serving a 39-month sentence for having sex with a minor.
Ammy Murray, the lawyer for Randy Joseph Clarke, 35, asked the court to overturn the conviction, allow fresh evidence, or at least reduce the sentence.
The fresh evidence is a Facebook profile of the victim, which indicates she is 18.
Murray also says the trial judge was wrong to conclude Clarke did not take adequate measures to determine the true age of the girl. He believed she was 17 or 18 — when, in fact, she was 15.
Murray says her client is not a child molester and does not want to be portrayed that way.
“Mr. Clarke just wants people to know he was essentially tricked,” she said. “He doesn’t have an attraction to young females, he doesn’t go out looking for young females but he made a silly mistake. He didn’t ask the right questions and now he is serving a penitentiary term.”
Prosecutors argued the trial judge was well within his right to conclude that Clarke did not make a reasonable effort to determine the girl’s true age and that the sentence of 39 months was fit.
As for the Facebook profile indicating the girl was 18, the prosecution says allowing that as evidence at the trial would not have had an impact on the outcome.
Clarke appeared via video link from a prison in B.C. where he is serving his sentence. He has been in custody since his arrest in March of 2014. He was convicted last December.
Clarke was living in North Battleford when he met the girl.