Appeal denied for man convicted of sexually assaulting woman in Calgary hotel room for 11 hours
The Alberta Court of Appeal has rejected the appeal of a man convicted of sexually assaulting a woman inside a Calgary hotel in 2017, citing concerns about his history of failing to comply with court orders, his risk of flight and the possibility he could reoffend.
Vasilios William Georgopoulos was convicted of sexual assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault with a weapon, unlawful confinement and uttering threats in connection with an incident in October 2017.
He was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail as a result.
Following his trial but before his sentencing date, Georgopoulos fired his trial lawyer, secured new representation and applied for a mistrial. Court documents indicate he said the original counsel failed to use available material in cross-examination of the complainant.
The trial judge refused the mistrial, and Georgopoulos is appealing that decision. As part of the appeal process, he sought judicial interim release from custody pending the outcome of the appeal.
However, Justice Jo'Anne Strekaf refused that request. She found in her decision that while the application met the "low bar" of being not frivolous, it did not meet the other requirements of the possibility that he would surrender himself into custody as needed and that his detention is "not necessary in the public interest."
During the appeal, the Crown submitted six separate occasions where Georgopoulos disregarded his bail conditions, including one that occurred after the 2017 offences.
"At the time of the offences on October 5, 2017, the applicant was on bail for 29 charges pertaining to weapons, drugs and breaching court rules," Strekaf wrote in her decision. "His bail conditions required him to reside at an address in Calgary, keep a 24-hour curfew, not possess weapons and not possess alcohol or drugs not prescribed by a medical doctor."
She added he also had eight convictions in less than 10 years for failing to appear or failing to comply with a court order, raising "concerns as to whether the applicant would surrender himself in custody" when granted bail.
When it comes to concerns of public safety should he be released on bail, Georgopoulos' lengthy criminal record was relevant in that decision, Strekaf said.
"That record includes convictions for theft, driving while impaired, several convictions for assault, multiple convictions for possession of a controlled substance, mischief, possession of a weapon, two convictions for possession of a firearm or ammunition contrary to a prohibition order, used of a forged document and identity fraud," she wrote.
The seriousness of the 2017 incident, the crime that resulted in the lengthy criminal sentence, also illustrated the "enforceability interest" in the case, Strekaf said.
"Both public safety and flight risks exist in this case," she wrote.
As a result, Georgopoulos' appeal for a mistrial was dismissed.