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Halifax man admits luring girl for sexual purpose

A Halifax man has pleaded guilty to a charge of luring a girl under the age of 16 over the internet for the purpose of facilitating a sexual assault.

Matthew Russell Ward, 39, entered the plea this week in Halifax provincial court.

Judge Amy Sakalauskas ordered a presentence report and scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 11.

The summary offence was committed in September 2017 and involved a Truro girl whose identity is protected by a publication ban.

Ward was arrested last May, released by police on an undertaking with conditions and arraigned on the charge in July.

Crown attorney Sylvia Domaradzki said the sentencing will be “very contested.” Defence lawyer Wayne Bacchus has given notice that he will challenge the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum penalty of six months in jail.

Ward’s release conditions have been amended at least twice in court.

He cannot have any contact with the alleged victim and must remain 50 metres from schools, playgrounds and community centres “while children are present in day programs.”

Ward also is prohibited from using or possessing a computer or any electronic device capable of accessing the internet, except while at work or in the immediate presence of a person designated by the court. The only social media he is permitted to use is LinkedIn.

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