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Man who groped 12-year-old girl at Granville Island pleads guilty

The judge delayed sentencing so she could get more information about Derek Sangris.
Derek Sangris, 42, told court Aug. 18 that he's sorry "for everything that has happened."

A Vancouver man charged with sexual assault and sexual interference with a person under 16 in the groping of a 12-year-old girl at the Granville Island Public Market has pleaded guilty to the second count.

However, on Aug. 18, Vancouver provincial court Judge Jennifer Oulton declined to sentence Derek Sangris, 42, asking for updated forensic and Indigenous background reports.

She did so saying Sangris's multiple past convictions on similar charges made the case look like a “revolving door” of offences and convictions. The case was adjourned to Aug. 19 to set a date for Oulton to be provided with more information.

She noted the offence before her took place while Sangris was on probation for an earlier such offence.

Vancouver Police Department (VPD) officers arrested Sangris on Aug. 24, 2021, after the girl reported that she had been groped and sexually assaulted while at the market on Aug. 13, 2021.

She contacted police after VPD released information about a series of gropings that occurred around False Creek on Aug. 17.

Prosecutor Jonas Dow told Oulton the child and her mother were in the food service area of the market when groping happened. The lawyer said she saw someone “darting away.”

After police obtained footage of the area, “Sangris was identified and arrested,” Dow said.

Oulton asked Sangris if he agreed with those facts.

“Yes, your honour,” he said.

Dow and defence lawyer Kristy Neurauter suggested to Oulton a day in jail on top of an 18-month credit for the year he has been in custody since his arrest.

The judge, though, balked at the joint submission, saying the repeated sexual offences and disregard for court orders were a concern.

“I would like to have some insight on him to have this addressed rather than just accede to an order,” Oulton said. “His background over eight years doesn’t give me much confidence.”

Dow said Sangris has similar past convictions, including breaches of probation and prohibitions.

“It’s a terrible, terrible record,” Dow said.

Neurauter told the judge her client, who was adopted and lived on a reserve near Edmonton, has had issues with substance abuse and is an intergenerational victim of his biological grandparents being in residential school. She said he has had diagnoses of PTSD, depression and anxiety and may well have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

She said he has taken numerous course in prison in order to work on rehabilitation.

“He’s making a real effort,” she said.

Oulton asked Sangris if he wished to address the court.

“I just want to apologize for everything that has happened,” he said via video link from North Fraser Pretrial Centre. “Much as I done so much wrong in my life, I know I can do better.

“I know I owe a lot of people apologies out there,” he said. “I still have an entire lifetime to improve myself and I’m going to do my best from now on.”