Crown prosecutors are appealing the sentence handed down to a former Edmonton nightclub promoter convicted of sexually assaulting five women.
Matthew McKnight, 33, was sentenced at the end of July to eight years behind bars. McKnight was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women between the ages of 17 and 22 between 2010 and 2016. He pleaded not guilty, but a jury convicted him in January on five counts.
In a notice of appeal filed on Thursday, the Crown said it has filed the appeal on the grounds that the “sentence is not proportionate to the moral gravity of the offences or the moral blameworthiness of the offender.”
Others reasons cited in the appeal include that the sentencing judge erred in her application of the totality principle and overemphasized mitigating factors and failed to properly consider aggravating factors. The Crown also feels “the sentence is demonstrably unfit.”
The prosecution asked for a sentence of 22-and-a-half years in prison, while McKnight’s lawyer suggested five to nine years.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Doreen Sulyma sentenced McKnight to 16-and-a-half years, but reduced his sentence to 10 years based on the totality principle.
“A sentence of 16.5 years simply exceeds what would be just and appropriate,” she said during sentencing on July 31.
McKnight’s sentence was further reduced because he was assaulted while in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre and the judge believed he has an excellent chance for rehabilitation.
“The system needs to do better in dealing with allegations of sexual violence,” Crown prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga said. “We’ll ask this rhetorical question, ‘Is this sentence of eight years for somebody who is legally classified as a serial rapist, is that adequate?'”
Court heard McKnight met most of the women in bars and assaulted them at his apartment.
During the trial several victims told court that they have had nightmares, thoughts of suicide and anxiety since they were attacked.
— With files from The Canadian Press