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Former ski coach Bertrand Charest seeks to have sentence halved by appeal court

Former high-performance ski coach Bertrand Charest, shown in this courtroom sketch, was denied bail pending an appeal of his conviction involving his teenage students.Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 .
Former high-performance ski coach Bertrand Charest, shown in this courtroom sketch, was denied bail pending an appeal of his conviction involving his teenage students.Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 . Mike McLaughlin/The Canadian Press

Former national ski coach Bertrand Charest is seeking to have his sexual-assault sentence reduced by at least half.

In a recent filing with Quebec’s Court of Appeal, Charest’s lawyers argue the 12-year sentence he received last December should be cut to between four and six years.

READ MORE: Ex-ski coach Bertrand Charest’s victims win legal fight to have their names made public

Charest’s lawyers say some acts like kissing were inappropriate but less invasive than other acts for which he was found guilty. The less invasive acts were nonetheless treated harshly by the judge at sentencing, they say.

Charest was found guilty in June 2017 of 37 of the 57 sex-related charges he faced involving nine of the 12 women who had accused him of crimes that occurred more than 20 years ago.

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The women were between the ages of 12 and 19, and he was overseeing their careers.

WATCH: Four women who were sexually abused by their ski coach speak out

Women abused by ski coach call for protection in sport
Women abused by ski coach call for protection in sport

In the case of the three other women, he was either acquitted or the charges were dropped because of jurisdictional issues.

He had sexual relations with four of the victims and one became pregnant, with Charest taking her to have an abortion.

Several victims went to court this year to have their identities revealed so they could speak publicly about the abuse they suffered.

READ MORE: Former national ski coach Bertrand Charest denied bail

Charest’s lawyers were also critical of the judge for citing an absence of remorse and denial of responsibility as aggravating factors.

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The trial judge was skeptical about Charest’s expressed remorse, but his legal team argues in the document he can’t be blamed for defending himself and maintaining his version of what happened.

Charest, who has been behind bars since his arrest in 2015, is also appealing the convictions.