(News Bulletin file)

Vancouver Island restaurant owner sentenced for sexual interference with a minor

Talal El Bakkar sentenced in Nanaimo court to nine months’ jail time

The owner of a downtown Nanaimo restaurant has been handed a three-month jail sentence for an incident involving sex with a minor.

Talal El Bakkar, 66, pleaded guilty to sexual interference of a person under 16 in provincial court in Nanaimo on Friday. Judge Douglas Cowling sentenced El Bakkar to prison time to be served on weekends, as well as a three-year probation order.

The identity of the minor, as well as some of the circumstances, are protected, but during sentencing, it was revealed the incident occurred in June 2015 after the girl had texted Bakkar, telling him she had been at a party and drinking and requested a ride home. It was decided she would spend the night at Bakkar’s residence. He admits to engaging in sexual intercourse with her. The victim was 15 years old at the time, but El Bakkar claimed she had said she was 19 years old, something Leanne Mascolo, Crown counsel, said the victim had denied.

El Bakkar didn’t have a previous criminal record and during sentencing, Michael Ritzker, defence counsel, said that his client had been subject to attacks mounted against his client by “self-righteous social justice warriors” through social media and vandalism to his property. He was attacked by a person wielding a knife outside his restaurant, Aladdin’s Café, but wasn’t harmed, and businesses cancelled contracts with the café.

A pre-sentence report detailed how El Bakkar had suffered a number of head injuries, including an incident in January 2004, when he was found lying on the ground, bleeding and unconscious. According to the pre-sentence report, family members said that El Bakkar’s behaviour changed after this;he was described as a shell of his former self, has a temper sometimes and rambles.

Ritzker said his client was ashamed, and submitted letters and called on witnesses to speak in favour of El Bakkar. Long-time Nanaimo resident Mike Gogo, who has known El Bakkar for 20 years, said he couldn’t speak to the offences, but told Cowling of numerous instances of El Bakkar’s generosity, including an instance when he gave food to a person who had been searching in the restaurant’s dumpster.

Ritzker also pointed out that El Bakkar has been on probation for the past three years and has abided by the rules.

As part of El Bakkar’s probation, he may not hire people under 16 years of age to work at his restaurant. He can’t be in the presence of someone 16 years old or under unless they are in the presence of a parent or it is incidentally at his business. He may not take a paid or volunteer position where he is in a position of trust with people under 16 years of age. He must not have any contact with the victim. He will also be required to be registered on the national sexual offender registry for 10 years and must follow a curfew order (between 9:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.) for nine months.

Mascolo said the victim didn’t respond to messages, take part in the pre-sentence report, nor provide a victim impact statement.

Note: Previous version had incorrect information regarding sentencing.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Comments are closed

Just Posted

WATCH: Tofino byelection candidates respond to community concerns at forum

Tofino will vote in a municipal byelection on Nov. 2.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to campaign in Port Alberni

Singh joins Courtenay-Alberni candidate for rally to kick off final weekend before election

Tofino byelection candidates explain why they’re running

Town to vote on Nov. 2 to fill council seat left vacant by tragic death of Coun. Dorothy Baert

West Coast becoming a vibrant bike community

“This area has everything and more to offer for riding enthusiasts of all diverse ages.”

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

With $4M investment, Camosun College offers first sonography program on Vancouver Island

Starting in May 2020 students from Vancouver Island can pursue a career in sonography

Elizabeth May confirms plan to eliminate fish farming in open ocean pens

Green Party leader stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

STRIKE: WFP and USW are back at the table for mediation

“No further updates until either an agreement is reached or one party or the other breaks off talks”

Green Party leader Elizabeth May rolls through Vancouver Island to boost a party stronghold

Mocks media, evokes Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and promises change

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read