May 30th, 2024

Guilty pleas expected in sex and child pornography case

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on April 17, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 45-year-old Lethbridge man who intends to resolve some of his sex and child pornography charges, could enter pleas when he returns to court later this month.
The accused, James Martinac, has been expected since March to plead guilty to some of his charges, but the case has been adjourned several times since then to allow Lethbridge lawyer Scott Hadford and the Crown time to iron out the details.
The matter was back in Lethbridge court of justice Tuesday, where Hadford assured the judge he and the Crown are working hard to resolve the charges, but need one more adjournment.
Lethbridge police reported in May 2022 they had charged a man with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 2021. In April 2022 the then 16-year-old girl told police she had been sexually assaulted by a man who is known to her.
Investigation by members of the criminal investigation section determined the girl had been staying with the man at his home and was given drugs and sexually assaulted on multiple occasions over the course of several months in 2021. During their investigation police seized electronic devices that contained images of child pornography.
Martinac was on the verge of resolving the charges in late 2022, but in June 2023 he elected trial by Court of King’s bench judge alone, with a preliminary hearing.
He is set to have a preliminary hearing May 23-24 on charges of sexual assault, sexual contact with a child, sexual exploitation, luring a child under the age of 18, luring a child under the age of 16 , and possession of child pornography. He is also scheduled to have a preliminary hearing June 6-7 on charges of sexual assault, sexual contact with a child, luring a child under the age of 18, and possession of child pornography.
Those hearings will be cancelled, however, if the Crown and defence complete the agreement to resolve the charges.
Martinac also faces 13 charges out of Calgary, including sexual contact with a child, sexual assault, possession of child pornography, distribute/sell child pornography, and make/print/publish child pornography. He pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of child pornography, which defence expects to resolve with the Lethbridge charges.
The matter is scheduled to return to court Apr. 25.

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