Crown gives notice of appeal in sexual assault case of former nightclub employee

EDMONTON — The Alberta Crown has filed a notice of appeal over the sentence given to a former Edmonton nightclub employee convicted of sexually assaulting five women.

Matthew McKnight, 33, was sentenced to eight years in prison on July 31.

If the appeal is granted, the Crown says it will challenge the sentence on several grounds including that it’s “demonstrably unfit.”

McKnight 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.

Queen’s Bench Justice Doreen Sulyma had assessed 16 1/2 years for the five counts — a number she reduced to eight years based on 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 at the time.

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

The Crown prosecution service said in the notice of appeal, which was filed Thursday, that the judge erred in her application of the totality principle and overemphasized mitigating factors.

The Crown says the sentence is also not proportionate to the moral gravity of the offences and is demonstrably unfit.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Aug. 20, 2020

The Canadian Press

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