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Updated: Fri, 29 Nov 2013 18:17:48 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Randall Hopley, who abducted B.C. boy, sentenced to 7 years

Randall Hopley, who abducted B.C. boy, sentenced to 7 years

Randall Hopley has been sentenced to six years in prison and declared a long-term offender for the abduction of three-year-old Kienan Hebert in 2011.

In a Cranbrook, B.C., courtroom Friday morning, Hopley was also sentenced to one year in prison for a breaking and entering in Alberta, for a total sentence of seven years.

He will be given 26 months credit for incarceration while awaiting trial, and will serve a total of five more years.

Hopley, 48, pleaded guilty to abducting Hebert in the middle of the night and holding him in an abandoned cabin for four days in September 2011. Just as stealthily as Hopley had abducted the toddler, he returned him. The Hebert family found Kienan unharmed, back in his bed, four days later.

Long-term offender status

Hopley’s long-term offender status means he will be supervised for 10 years following his release.

The long-term offender designation was added to the Criminal Code in 1997 for offenders – generally repeat, violent, sexual offenders – who need long-term monitoring in the community, but don't meet the standards required to be declared dangerous offenders.

The designation requires a psychological and behavioural assessment be presented to the court. Sexual preferences and offences are taken into consideration in the case of a sexual offender, such as Hopley.

For dangerous or long-term offender status to be declared, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused stands a substantial chance of reoffending. The morality and reputation of the offender, among other things, can also be taken into consideration by the court.

No dangerous offender status

The Crown had argued for Hopley to be given dangerous offender status – that he poses such a great risk to reoffend he should be jailed indefinitely for public safety reasons.

But, Justice Heather Holmes ruled Friday that Hopley is not a dangerous offender. Had he been ruled a dangerous offender, Hopley would have been given an indefinite prison sentence.

"Crown is pleased with the results. This means Mr. Hopley will be in custody or under supervision until he is 63. The public will be protected for a very long time," said Crown prosecutor Lynal Doerksen.

Holmes read a long list of Hopley's offences, but did not find they met the threshold for an indefinite prison sentence.

Defence lawyer William Thorne told the court that although Hopley abducted Kienan in the dead of the night, he did not physically harm the boy. Thorne recommended Hopley, who has a below-average IQ, receive a two-year federal sentence.

Although Hopley has abducted and assaulted children in the past, Holmes indicated she believes he stands a chance at rehabilitation.

Holmes noted the severity of the abduction, as well as the effect it had on the Hebert family and on the small community of Sparwood. Hopley set off an Amber Alert, triggering one of the largest manhunts ever seen in B.C., when he took Kienan from the Hebert's unlocked home.

The Hebert family has not attended any of the court proceedings, but have shown compassion to Hopley and even sent him a greeting card wishing him well while he was awaiting trial.

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