A P.E.I. man who was accused of sexually abusing his half-sisters when they were children, and threatening them if they told anyone what he did, was found guilty Tuesday of five offences.
The accused was facing 21 charges related to the historical sex offences that came to light when one of the now adult complainants was hospitalized for a medical condition and made statements to staff about what she alleged happened to her as a child.
A publication ban prevents the release of any details that could identify the victims.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, it took P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice James Gormley more than an hour to deliver his decision and find the accused guilty of two counts of indecent assault, one count of sexual assault and two counts of uttering a threat.
During the trial, the court heard testimony from the three sisters who thought the accused was their uncle.
All four later learned the accused, who was older than the complainants and lived with another family member, was their half-brother.
As Gormley reviewed the evidence, he detailed some of the testimony from the complainants who said they were the victims of repeated sexual abuse.
Some of that testimony involved descriptions of similar details, including the accused forcing two of the sisters to perform oral sex on multiple occasions when they were children.
They also recalled similar circumstances of the accused making threats that he would hurt them or family members if they told anyone what he was doing.
One of the complainants said her earliest memory of the accused sexually abusing her was when she was around 10 years old.
She told the court the accused would regularly force her to perform oral sex or have anal sex.
Gormley said the victim testified that until she learned about the other allegations, she thought she had protected her sisters from the accused.
During the trial, the accused didn’t testify, but the Crown played video of a statement he gave to police in which he denied the allegations.
When reviewing the witness testimony, Gormley said he had to consider their credibility, which has to do with their truthfulness, and their reliability, which deals with the accuracy of the evidence.
Gormley said he found all three women to be credible and he repeatedly described them as reluctant witnesses.
If it wasn’t for the one sister’s compromised situation while she was undergoing medical treatment and on medications, the allegations might not have come to light, he said.
Gormley said he found two of the sisters provided reliable evidence, but there were issues of reliability with the third who was “very vague” with some of her testimony.
The accused is scheduled to be back in court Oct. 4 for sentencing.