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

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the Canadian government should consider sanctions on the U.S. if they refuse to reconsider the decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Keystone XL officially cancelled, Kenney vows to fight on

U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the pipeline on first day of office

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said province’s test positivity rate for COVID-19 is steadily declining. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
669 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 21 additional deaths

COVID-19 test positivity rate down to 4.5 per cent

Kyla Gibson with her boyfriend Gavin Hardy. (Photo used with permission)
Sylvan Lake couple lose ‘fur babies’ to house fire

‘They were our world and nothing will ever replace them,’ Kyla Gibson said of her three pets

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported an additional 456 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

Businesses are getting creative to keep cash flowing. (File photo)
Central Albertan lobbying government to help those affected by CERB repayments

Catherine Hay says she received a letter in November saying she had to completely repay the benefit

(Photo submitted)
Community Futures brings back Social Media Challenge for 2021

This time the challenge is for non-profits and community groups

Lucas Berg, left, with the backpacks filled with essential items he donated to the Red Deer Mustard Seed Jan. 19, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Central Alberta teenager donates filled 20 backpacks to Red Deer Mustard Seed

Lucas Berg, 14, of Ponoka County says he ‘just wants to help people’

A conveyor belt transports coal at the Westmoreland Coal Co.’s Sheerness mine near Hanna, Alta., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Coal mining impacts are already occurring in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains even as debate intensifies over the industry’s presence in one of the province’s most beloved landscapes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
As Alberta debates coal mining, industry already affecting once-protected Rockies

UCP revoked a policy that had protected eastern slopes of the Rockies from open-pit coal mining since 1976

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb. TC Energy Corp. is planning to eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs related to its decision to halt work on its Keystone XL pipeline expansion project. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
TC Energy cutting more than 1,000 Keystone XL construction jobs as Biden pulls permit

Some 200 kilometres of pipe have already been installed for the expansion

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

Most Read