McKnight sex assault sentencing hearing to continue into next week
EDMONTON -- The sentencing hearing for Matthew McKnight, the Edmonton night club promoter convicted of five counts of sex assault, resumed for its fourth day Thursday.
The hearing was initially scheduled for three days last week but is now expected to continue beyond this week.
McKnight, 33, was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women ranging in age from 17 to 22 from 2010 until 2016, when he worked at Knoxville's Tavern.
In January, a jury convicted him on five of 13 counts after he had pleaded not guilty. Court has heard McKnight met most of the women in bars and assaulted them at his apartment.
The Crown is seeking a 22 1/2 year prison sentence.
The hearing will continue for a fifth day on Friday.
REMAND CENTRE BEATING
Defence lawyer Dino Bottos continued his sentencing submissions Thursday.
Last week, the court saw a second video of McKnight being assaulted by his cellmate while in the Edmonton Remand Centre on Aug. 14, 2016.
“He was agitated and called me 'skinner' and a rapist,” McKnight said of his attacker.
McKnight required stitches and staples following the attack where he was punched to the ground and kicked multiple times in the head.
On Thursday, one of the guards in the video who attended the scene of the attack shortly after it happened took to the stand. He was asked about guard procedures in the Remand Centre and what he remembers about the incident.
Bottos has argued a beating McKnight sustained from another inmate while awaiting bail should serve as a mitigating factor in his sentence.
Last week, McKnight told the court he's worried for his safety when he goes to prison.
“It's going to be a very dangerous time and I am just hoping to survive it,” said McKnight.
Bottos has yet to state the sentence the defence is seeking.
Prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga argued the assault should have no effect McKnight's sentencing.
He said McKnight could've asked guards to protect him from his cellmate but didn't.
VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS
Five of McKnight's victims read out victim impact statements before the court last week.
"You saw intoxication as an opportunity," one of the women told the court.
"My body didn’t feel like mine because I wasn’t in control," she said in her victim impact statement.
"I felt robbed, invaded, worthless and helpless."
The woman said she remained silent about the attacks for years until hearing of other victims and going to the police.
"I stand here against sexual predators," she said. "I stand here so he can never do this to anyone else."
The victim's identities are protected by a publication ban.
'DENOUNCE AND DETER'
In his opening submissions last week, Huyser-Wierenga said the offences are gravely serious and McKnight's moral responsibility is huge in what he described as drug-facilitated sex assaults.
He said the judge must “denounce and deter” the vile abuse of the five women, and called the sentencing a "unique opportunity to denounce and deter."
“These are gravely serious offences and Mr. McKnight's degree of moral responsibility is high,” said Huyser-Wierenga during in his opening submission.