September 19, 2017 3:55 pm
Updated: September 20, 2017 5:17 pm

‘It was a dark period in my life’: Wab Kinew addresses former assault, drunk driving charges

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He has been the Leader of the Official Opposition for just days but already Wab Kinew’s role as the head of the Manitoba NDP has come intense scrutiny.

On the eve of the NDP leadership vote, a former partner revealed her account of a 2003 domestic assault allegation. Charges against Kinew were later stayed and Kinew has denied that assault.

RELATED: Woman behind Wab Kinew domestic violence case speaks out

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On Tuesday, details emerged about two other arrests – this time a 2003 assault and drunk driving.

Kinew was 22-years-old when he pleaded guilty to four charges including refusing a breathalyzer and assault of a taxi driver.

RELATED: Wab Kinew voted in as new leader of Manitoba NDP

Both issues, Kinew has spoken about in his book ‘The Reason You Walk.’

“The book is pretty brutally honest,” Kinew said in a one-on-one interview with Global News. “I talk about being really intoxicated and assaulting a cab driver. The book is a recollection of, in part, a dark period of my life.”

However, Global News has reviewed audio recordings from his 2004 sentencing which show some discrepancies from his book.

Court heard Kinew was intoxicated when he caught a cab near Mayfair Avenue, just before 5 a.m.

“The accused began to insult the (cab driver) with some racial comments which continued until the driver reached the intersection of Portage Avenue and Fort Street,” the Crown said.

While stopped at a red light, Kinew exited the vehicle, approached the driver’s side door window, which was partially open, and punched the driver in the face.

When the driver exited the cab, Kinew pushed him to the ground and kicked him, court heard.

RELATED: Ashton accuses Kinew of downplaying domestic violence charges during Manitoba NDP leadership race

Police came upon the scene and Kinew attempted to flee but was eventually arrested.

In the book, Kinew said he had grabbed a taxi with a group of friends and jumped out without paying.

“The driver caught up with us and pushed me. I turned around and shoved him back. A passing cabbie saw what was happening, stopped his taxi and jumped out to help his fellow driver,” he wrote. “He swung and hit me in the face. I grabbed him and swung back. We stood in the middle of the street, arms flailing in full-on hockey fight mode. The police showed up and tackled me.”

Kinew’s lawyer at the time of the 2004 sentencing told the court his client’s “…memory of this particular day is quite hazy. He was extremely intoxicated during the incident.”

Kinew was asked about the discrepancies Tuesday.

“I would say it was a dark period in my life. I was a selfish young man,” Kinew said. “I have issues like the one you’re talking about… they did happen. There are obviously different accounts for the same incident – but I think I was very honest and very upfront about this and other things that have happened in my past. I have apologized for the mistakes that I have made in my life.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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