News / Toronto

Man convicted of sexual assault skips sentencing hearing

Moazzam Tariq, 29, had been found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman while she was clearly too intoxicated to consent.

Moazzam Tariq arrives, Oct. 7, at Old City Hall court at court for the verdict in a sexual assault case he was charged in. Tariq, who was found guilty, was a no-show at his sentencing hearing.

Bernard Weil/Torstar news service file

Moazzam Tariq arrives, Oct. 7, at Old City Hall court at court for the verdict in a sexual assault case he was charged in. Tariq, who was found guilty, was a no-show at his sentencing hearing.

A man convicted of sexually assaulting a woman while she was clearly too intoxicated to consent failed to show up to his sentencing hearing Thursday and may have fled the province.

Moazzam Tariq, 29, was on $10,000 bail pending sentencing and had surrendered his passport. He was required to live with his father, his surety, and had to be home between the hours of 10 p.m and 6 a.m.

Tariq’s father last spoke to Tariq on Nov. 24, Crown prosecutor Jill Witkin told the court.

Tariq said he was in Vancouver on business, but would return for his Dec. 1 court date. Tariq stopped returning his father’s calls and his father came to court on Nov. 24 to remove himself as a surety. A warrant for Tariq’s arrest was issued.

His lawyer Danielle Robitaille told the court it had been days since she last spoke to Tariq and that she did not expect him to appear in court.

Greene found that Tariq has absconded to avoid being sentenced and ordered that the sentencing hearing proceed without him.

The Crown is seeking a sentence of three years in prison.

The victim, whose identity is subject to a publication ban, and Tariq first met at a downtown Toronto club, and he immediately and repeatedly encouraged her to drink vodka.

When they left the club together 13 minutes later, she could barely walk, surveillance video shows. The last surveillance video from that night shows them in an elevator going up to a room at the Thompson Hotel.

Tariq was alert and upbeat, the victim appeared to be “very intoxicated, lethargic, and, at times, dazed,” Greene found.

“I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that (the victim) did not appreciate where she was or what she was doing,” Greene wrote in her decision. “(She) did not realize she could refuse to go with Mr. Tariq and say no to sexual intercourse.”

Prosecutor Nathan Kruger argued Tariq showed a callous disregard for the victim’s will, autonomy and dignity prior to the rape.

Surveillance video from the club clearly shows Tariq ignoring the victim’s signs of impairment and her intentions by touching her, grinding against her and encouraging her to drink after she refused, he said.

“(The sexual assault) was planned, deliberate and demonstrative of a significant amount of power and control over (the complainant),” he said, adding that Tariq isolated the victim and assaulted her at a time of complete vulnerability.

Kruger argued the sentence imposed should deter this type of behaviour that is “normalized or even encouraged” in bars and clubs.

Robtaille, Tariq’s lawyer, was removed as his counsel at her request and did not make submissions.

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