(News Bulletin file)

(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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Michele Babchuk with Premier John Horgan and Clerk of the Legislature Katy Ryan-Lloyd. (BC Legislature)
Babchuk sworn in to B.C.’s 42nd Legislature

Oath ceremony held with MLAs connecting through video

Over 6,000 customers were affected by the power outage that started on Nov. 17. (BC Hydro photo)
BC Hydro crews worked 16 hour days to turn the North Island’s power back on

BC Hydro runs one transmission line to Northern Vancouver Island so there was no backup line.

U’mista Cultural Centre is closed to the public until further notice, as of Nov. 23, 2020. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
U’mista closed until further notice due to new restrictions

North Island on high alert against COVID-19

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Picture of two swans leaving the Cowichan estuary moments before one was shot out of the sky. (Submitted photo)
Petition to stop hunting in Cowichan estuary after swan shot

Hunters blame shooting on illegal poachers

Bob Higgins pulls the gate across on the elevator built inside his home. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Island man’s expertise earns international award with home-built elevator

Experience put to use in winning contest entry for furniture and home projects

Most Read