The sentencing of a Canadian man convicted of assault and performing an indecent act near a public pool has been postponed as Magistrates’ Court waits for him to return to Bermuda.

Brent Habetler, 46, was due to be sentenced yesterday after being convicted of the offences last Thursday.

But Magistrate Craig Attridge heard that he flew back to his native Saskatchewan and has not returned.

Habetler, who had been on the island since last November, was given permission to leave Bermuda on the day of his conviction because he had run out of cash to fund his stay.

Victoria Greening, for the defence, said that her client flew home the following day, but could not find a way back to face sentencing.

She added that, while he said he had friends with private planes, none of them were willing to let him board.

Habetler stood trial for the offences on February 2 after denying the incident in December.

A woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court that she was at the pool of the Willowbank Resort in Sandys with her husband, daughter and granddaughter on November 26.

She said she saw Habetler “moving his hands rapidly” inside his pants while looking at her daughter and granddaughter, and claimed he “had an itch” when confronted.

The woman’s husband, who also cannot be named, testified that Habetler bumped him in his chest after his wife went to get help.

He then put his hands on the man’s shoulders before another person broke them up. Habetler was arrested later that day.

Habetler, the court heard yesterday, was on a yearlong “peace bond” at the time of his arrest, which had been ordered on November 15 by the Canadian Court of Lloydminster, Alberta.

The bond was binding no matter where in the world he was, and ordered that he be on good behaviour and stay away from public pools, daycares and playgrounds.

The Coast Reporter, a Canadian news outlet, earlier reported that Habetler received the peace bond after facing similar charges of indecent exposure and mischief. These charges were dropped the day the bond was issued.

Alan Richards, for the Crown, said yesterday that Habetler deserved a “short sharp shock” of three months imprisonment for his actions.

He said that both incidents, though on the lower end of seriousness, together crossed the threshold for a custodial sentence.

He added that Habetler’s lack of remorse, failure to appear for sentencing, and potential breach of his Canadian peace bond should all play a factor.

Ms Greening said that imprisonment would be a disproportionate punishment to his crimes.

She reminded the court that her client’s crimes were still on the lower end or seriousness, and that the peace bond, while binding in Canadian law, had no influence in Bermuda’s jurisdiction.

Ms Greening added that her client offered $2,000 towards any potential fines on the chance that he could not return to Bermuda.

Mr Attridge adjourned the case until Friday for sentencing.

Habetler’s Bermuda case picked up traction in his native Saskatchewan, where the newspaper SaskTodaypublished a story last Friday detailing his conviction and history.

The same newspaper shared that he had legally changed his name to Sir Brent Habetler and claimed to be the third cousin of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

He further claimed to have been a sniper and weapons technician in the Canadian Armed Forces and to have represented the monarchy during a military event in Wainwright, Alberta.

SaskToday reported that Habetler has gone on to say that his alleged service saw him deployed in the Balkans, the Middle East, Africa and Venezuela — which he said involved operations that earned him a “secret knighthood” — before retiring on a “quarter pension” as a Master Corporal.

Habetler’s alleged involvement in a Wainwright-based military event has not been confirmed, according to SaskToday, and a Canadian genealogy expert could not find any proof verifying his links to royalty.

Stolen Valour Canada, an independent group that aims to expose false claims of military service, found in 2019 that Habetler “doesn’t have a single day of [Canadian Forces] service”.

Royal Gazette