Date: Thursday, April 13, 2023
Victoria, BC – Victoria resident Sean O’Reilly has been charged with ten counts of sexual assault with a weapon after a series of assaults on women last year.
In November 2022, VicPD began receiving reports of women being sprayed or splashed with an unknown liquid while they were walking or sitting downtown. Some of the women described feeling a burning sensation and reported that the substance damaged the fabric of their clothing.
All of the victims were women ranging in age from 15 to 48 years old. The liquid was believed to be a corrosive substance.
On December 30, 2022, investigators arrested a suspect in relation to these incidents, and, VicPD issued a media release looking to speak with any additional victims or witnesses.
VicPD’s Major Crimes Unit continued to investigate and on March 14, 2023, Sean O’Reilly was formally charged with ten counts of sexual assault with a weapon. He is currently bound by conditions and is awaiting trial.
Further details about this investigation cannot be shared at this time as the matter is now before the courts.
Why was this person released?
Bill C-75, which came into effect nationally in 2019, legislated a “principle of restraint” that requires police to release an accused person at the earliest possible opportunity after considering certain factors which include the likelihood the accused will attend court, the imminence of the risk posed to public safety, and the impact on confidence in the criminal justice system. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that every person has the right to liberty and the presumption of innocence pre-trial. Police are also asked to consider the circumstances of Indigenous or vulnerable persons in the process, in order to address the disproportionate impacts that the criminal justice system has on these populations.
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