Former Edmonton nightclub employee sentenced to eight years for sex assaults

Former Edmonton nightclub employee sentenced to eight years for sex assaults

Former Edmonton nightclub employee sentenced to eight years for sex assaults

EDMONTON — A former Edmonton nightclub employee convicted of sexually assaulting five women has been sentenced to eight years in prison, a term reduced partly because of a beating he suffered while in custody.

Matthew McKnight, 33, was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women ranging in age from 17 to 22 between 2010 and 2016. He pleaded not guilty, but a jury convicted him on five counts.

In her ruling Friday, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Doreen Sulyma said his prison term on the five counts must be served consecutively.

The prosecution had asked for a sentence of 22 1/2 years, while McKnight’s lawyer had suggested five to nine years.

Sulyma provided detailed reasons for sentencing on each of the five counts, including that in some cases McKnight did not use a condom.

“In each case here, the victim was vulnerable, young, intoxicated and under the control and power of Mr. McKnight,” Sulyma said.

“(They) all gave extremely powerful and articulate accounts of their individual distress.”

Court has heard that McKnight met most of the women in bars and assaulted them at his apartment. Several victims told court that they have had nightmares, thoughts of suicide and anxiety since they were attacked.

“For years, I have been terrified of you. You haunt my dreams and dictate my waking moments,” one woman said in her victim impact statement read to the court in early July.

The victims’ names are protected by a publication ban.

Crown prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga has said that alcohol and “something else” were used in at least three of the offences in what he dubbed “drug-facilitated” sexual assaults.

Sulyma challenged the submission in her decision, saying that evidence of drugs had not been proven in court.

In total, Sulyma assessed 16 1/2 years for the five counts — a number she reduced to eight years on her assessment of the “moral blameworthiness” of McKnight, his “excellent chances to rehabilitate” and that he was attacked by an inmate while at the Edmonton Remand Centre awaiting bail.

“A sentence of 16.5 years simply exceeds what would be just and appropriate,” she said.

The reduced sentence caused outbursts in the courtroom with one woman yelling, “you guys are monsters.”

During McKnight’s sentencing hearing, his defence lawyer played a four-minute video from a camera in the remand centre showing him being punched, falling to the ground and getting kicked multiple times by a cellmate. There’s blood visible on the floor in the video.

McKnight had said he blacked out before the man was taken away by a guard. Several other guards were shown in the video gathering around McKnight and restraining him. He was then led away by guards in handcuffs and a spit mask, and later taken to hospital.

“The attack (against McKnight) was not just vicious, it was ignored by the appropriate authorities,” Sulyma said, adding that the investigation into the matter was “meagre.”

She noted that McKnight is a first-time offender and “I find that he has been obedient to the requirements of the justice system.”

“I accept his own statements to me at sentencing that he is very repentive,” Sulyma said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 31, 2020

Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

crime

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Alberta’s central zone has 670 active cases

301 new cases identified Sunday

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP execute search warrant; illegal drugs seized

Two Wetaskiwin residents have been charged with possession and trafficking of Methamphetamine.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

People line up outside a vaccine clinic as seniors wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton Alta, on Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Health Services head sorry for glitches in vaccine booking system for seniors

AHS president said technical issues have been fixed and a virtual waiting room is in place

Vandalism is shown on Alberta NDP MLA Janis Irwin’s constituency office in Edmonton in this handout photo on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney quickly condemned vandalism at an Opposition legislature member Janis Irwin’s Edmonton office after the MLA posted pictures showing her front window spray-painted with the words “Antifa Liar.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Janis Irwin *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

Edmonton MLA Janis Irwin posted pictures showing the front window spray-painted with the words ‘Antifa Liar’

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Most Read