The Crown has opted to file a preferred indictment against a Halifax man accused of breaking into a Halifax residence in June and raping the female occupant.
The move, announced Oct. 15 in Halifax provincial court, means Sem Paul Obed will proceed directly to trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on six charges — break and enter, choking to overcome resistance, aggravated sexual assault, uttering threats and two counts of breaching a peace bond.
Obed, 47, has an extensive criminal record going back to the 1980s that includes multiple convictions for sexual assault.
Judge Michael Sherar ordered Obed to appear in Supreme Court in Halifax on Oct. 25 to begin setting dates for a jury trial.
Obed appeared in court by video link from the Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Pictou County. It was the eighth time the case has been in court since his arrest.
Prosecutor Sean Mccarroll said the preferred, or direct, indictment allows the Crown to expedite the legal process.
“Given the nature of the charges and given the number of appearances we’ve had thus far, the Crown decided that we wanted to see this matter move forward as quickly as we can,” Mccarroll told reporters.
The Crown prosecutor said he and colleague Carla Ball will consider trying to have Obed declared a dangerous offender if he’s convicted.
“We’re well aware of Mr. Obed’s record, so a dangerous offender (designation) is something that we’re looking at,” Mccarroll said.
“At this stage, the focus is on the trial itself. The first step is to prove the offences for which he’s charged, and that’s our focus right now.”
Police received a report June 1 at 11:50 a.m. that a man had entered a dwelling in the 6000 block of Cunard Street, near the Halifax Common, and sexually assaulted a woman before fleeing.
Obed was arrested late that afternoon at his residence on Mcfatridge Road.
Obed was considered a high risk to reoffend in a sexual and violent manner when he was released from prison and took up residence in Halifax in August 2014, police said in a public notification at the time.
In that advisory, police said Obed’s record included convictions for attempted murder, sexual assault, aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.
Police had also issued a highrisk offender notification in November 1999 after Obed, a native of Happy Valley-goose Bay, was released from a New Brunswick prison and headed to Halifax. Obed had served every day of a 70-month sentence for attempted murder, sexual assault, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon, and break and enter. At the time, his record included four violent attacks on women.
In 2000, a Halifax provincial court judge dismissed a Crown application to place Obed on a one-year peace bond, saying there was no “present fear” that he would cause a serious personal injury. The Crown appealed, but a Supreme Court judge upheld the lower court’s decision.
Obed was later charged with sexually assaulting a woman at his Halifax apartment in June 2005.
He was subsequently charged with a September 2006 sexual assault in Happy Valley-goose Bay and five counts of sexual assault against a male inmate at the Labrador Correctional Centre in 2007.
The Crown obtained a twoyear peace bond against Obed in Dartmouth provincial court in August 2016. The current charges allege he breached that bond by failing to keep the peace and be of good behaviour and by consuming, purchasing or possessing alcohol or drugs.