By James Turner
A vicious five-on-one attack that saw a suspected rapist beaten, scarred and burned with a searing-hot butter knife in a melee at a Winnipeg party was filmed and recovered as evidence by police.
Wednesday, the shaky and scream-filled video footage was played in provincial court as one of the attackers admitted to aggravated assault for her role in what Judge Lynn Stannard called an event that was "sad, terrifying and difficult to watch."
The accused, 18, was with several people partying inside a Balmoral Avenue suite on March 13 when she found her friend asleep in a room with her pants off and a male guest on top of her.
She yelled for others to intervene and the room filled with partygoers, who pulled the man off the woman, held him down and began kicking and punching him. During the assault, one suspect went to the kitchen and retrieved a barbecue fork to stab the victim with.
Another kitchen fork was produced and used to stab the victim until it broke. A plate was then retrieved and smashed over his head. The accused then went to the kitchen, heated a butter knife on the stove till it was red hot and burned him with it.
"I think she was pretty surprised at what she did," defence lawyer Wendy Martin-White said. The cognitively-challenged young woman was sexually and physically abused in her traumatic childhood.
It appears witnessing her friend possibly being raped triggered something, Martin-White suggested.
"I think you can imagine what was going through her head when she came across what she did," Martin-White said.
The victim, 39, was treated in hospital but released the same day. He was charged with sexual assault soon after and denied bail but the case fell apart in July after the complainant didn't turn up to testify, court records show.
Stannard agreed with the Crown and Martin-White to sentence the woman to a further two years in jail. She's been in custody since immediately after the incident. She was on probation stemming from a youth conviction at the time of the assault.
In that time, the Manitoba special needs program will work with her to establish a gradual reintegration plan. "There has to be very strict monitoring," said Stannard.
Tuesday, a teen gang member was handed the equivalent of an 18-month-long youth jail sentence for his lesser role of holding the assault victim down and punching him several times.
Three others were also charged in the case and remain before the courts.