Recent Posts
Connect with:
Thursday / June 20.
  • No products in the cart.
HomeNewsSexual interference victim speaks out as ex-BC Liberal MLA’s son hopes Indigenous roots help him avoid jail

Sexual interference victim speaks out as ex-BC Liberal MLA’s son hopes Indigenous roots help him avoid jail


Bob Mackin

A Crown prosecutor wants the son of former BC Liberal MLA Judi Tyabji jailed for four-to-five years for sexual interference of a person under 16. 

However, Kasimir Tyabji-Sandana’s defence lawyer said he should not be incarcerated because his biological father is Indigenous.

Kasimir Tyabji-Sandana (left) and Judi Tyabji (Instagram)

Tyabji-Sandana, 36, was convicted by a jury last October in B.C. Supreme Court in Powell River. The jury found him not guilty of a second count, invitation to sexual touching of a person under 16. 

“When an offence requires priority on denunciation and deterrence, the judge must place greater weight on the offence rather than on personal circumstances of the offender,” Crown prosecutor Jeffrey Young told Justice Peter Edelmann. 

Young called the crime “among the most-serious” in the Criminal Code and the more serious the crime, the more likely the term of imprisonment. Young also said the courts have held that it is “unreasonable to assume that Aboriginal people do not believe in the importance of traditional sentencing goals” when such a sentence is warranted. 

In an emotional statement to the court, Tyabji-Sandana’s victim said that a part of her died when Tyabji-Sandana, then-28, took advantage of her over the course of five months in 2016. 

“I’m here today as a 23-year-old woman, to take my power back from you,” the woman said.

She said she was shamed and embarrassed, spent many days crying alone, pondering what her life was worth and kept the secret for three years until deciding to speak up. 

“There was fear that I would not be taken seriously and that I would be told that this was all my fault it happened,” the woman said. 

Kasimir Tyabji-Sandana at a high school graduation event. (Facebook)

“It’s been four years and three months and two weeks since I provided my first statements to police —1,569 days I’ve been waiting for this moment to come. This is where I take my power back,” she said. 

Defence lawyer David Tarnow asked Edelmann not to incarcerate his client, but put him on a community-based sentence instead. 

Tarnow said Tyabji-Sandana learned at age 11 that he had a different father and suffered racism and abuse because of it from his stepfather, Kim Sandana, and schoolmates in Kelowna. He developed a drinking problem when he was 14-years-old and continues to receive counselling. 

Tarnow told Edelmann that Tyabji-Sandana qualifies for leniency because expert pre-sentencing reports about Indigenous identity, known as Gladue reports, said his paternal family was Metis and he suffered intergenerational trauma, poverty and disconnection from his Indigenous roots. 

The jury heard last October that Tyabji-Sandana met a 14-year-old girl when she and a fellow high school student volunteered on Saturdays at Tyabji and stepfather Gordon Wilson’s sheep farm beginning in January 2016 in order to collect credit toward high school graduation. However, in court, Tyabji-Sandana admitted he never asked her age, believing she was mature. Tyabji and Wilson, the former BC Liberal leader, testified that they assumed the girl was a senior high school student. 

She left for a job in a grocery store after three months of volunteering, but Tyabji-Sandana reconnected with her via email. They began a relationship through the summer that advanced to sexual intercourse in September of 2016. 

The victim testified that she told Tyabji-Sandana after their first kiss that she was 15-years-old.

This is not Tyabji-Sandana’s first brush with the law. In 2018, he pleaded guilty in Calgary to attempting to possess a controlled substance and was sentenced to eight months of house arrest and eight months under curfew. 

In 2015, the year before he committed sexual interference in Powell River, police busted Tyabji-Sandana in Calgary after a Canada Border Services agent in Vancouver intercepted a package that was addressed to him. It contained 122 grams of acetyl fentanyl, worth an estimated $348,000. 

The sentencing hearing continues June 4 in Powell River. 

Support for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.