An Edmonton woman who was grabbed and kissed in the elevator of her condominium building was shocked to see the man convicted of her sexual assault back down the hall again.
“It’s just frustrating, I guess, that he still gets to live in this building, for now, and I have to work around him and I have to alter my life,” said the 20-year-old woman, whose identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban.
“I don’t really take the elevator anymore. When I do, it’s with my boyfriend or my friends.”
On Sept. 29, the woman arrived home from work around 10 p.m. and saw the man loitering in the parking lot. She recognized the man, who is 65, as someone she had previously seen walking around the property, occasionally with his family.
‘He eventually let go when the elevator doors opened, and I just ran out.’
The woman said she wanted to avoid any small talk, so she waited in her car until the man entered the lobby. But when she got inside, the man was waiting beside the elevator. They got in together.
After a brief exchange — in which she asked if he was going to the same floor — the door closed.
“He walks over really close to me … he leaned over and pinned my arms to my side and had me up against the wall, or the elevator door, and started to kiss the side of my face and tried to grab my face to point my face toward his,” she said.
“I thought, ‘I can’t fight this man off, he’s twice my size.’ So I had to tuck my head into the other side of my body that he wasn’t closest to. He eventually let go when the elevator doors opened, and I just ran out.”
Man pleads guilty
The attacker, Baldev Singh Brar, pleaded guilty to sexual assault on Oct. 11. Video surveillance tape from the elevator had been turned over to police.
Brar was sentenced to 30 days in jail, less 18 days for the time he had spent in remand, and six months probation. According to court transcripts, Brar is not a Canadian citizen and was only staying temporarily in the building with family.
The woman saw Brar shortly after he was released from jail, but has not seen him since. Her roommate has also seen him in the building.
The conditions of Brar’s release stipulate that he not have any “direct” or “indirect” contact with the woman.
But that type of no-contact order doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t live in the same building.
Criminal defence lawyer Dino Bottos, who is not associated with the case, explained a no-contact order is the most common type issued.
‘It’s just frustrating that he still gets to live in this building, for now, and I have to work around him and I have to alter my life.’
When imposed, it means, a person “cannot communicate with that person in any way, including telephone, text, email or even waving or gesturing to the (complainant) if they should encounter them in a room or a building,” he said.
“So long as that person is in the area, but not communicating with the complainant in any way, he’s not in breach of his no-contact order.”
In some cases, a judge may impose “super-added conditions,” which can stipulate someone be banned from being within 50 or 100 metres of a complainant’s home or place of work
“Judges decide on a case-by-case basis the parameters of a no-contact order,” Alberta Justice said in an emailed statement. “Including, whether an accused can be in the same building or room as a victim.”
Canada Border Services Agency would not comment directly on Brar’s case, and it’s not known if he has since been deported.
“It’s only once criminal proceedings are concluded and sentences served that the CBSA may proceed with the removal of the individual,” CBSA spokeswoman Lisa White said in an email.
It’s unclear if CBSA has issued a removal order for Brar. If CBSA issues a departure order, a person has 30 days to leave the country.
‘You just can’t live in fear’
The woman, who rents her unit, said she hasn’t contacted police with her concerns. Instead, she and her father contacted the building’s condo board and management company.
“It’s not a he-said, she-said thing,” said the woman’s father.
“This is a convicted sexual predator that’s in the building. My request is that first they ask him to leave … not only for the safety of my daughter, but for everyone who enters that building.
“We’re just frustrated that we’re not hearing anything from the property management company. The condo board is a group of volunteers and they don’t know what they can do.”
The property management company did not return the CBC’s calls.
The woman said she is now more nervous when she’s in the parking lot at night. But she’s trying not to let the event completely change her life.
“There’s a bit of paranoia at night time,” she said. “My dad said, ‘You just can’t live in fear.’ I think I take that as an important reminder to not slow down just because he may be there. I don’t want to stop my life for someone else. I don’t want to give him more credit than he’s already taken.”