Crown wants Edmonton club promoter to serve 15 more years for sexual assaults

Click to play video: 'Crown asks for 22.5 years for Matthew McKnight for sexually assaulting 5 women'
Crown asks for 22.5 years for Matthew McKnight for sexually assaulting 5 women
A sentencing hearing began Wednesday for a former Edmonton night club promoter. Matthew McKnight's victims confronted him in court with emotional victim impact statements and the crown said his crimes warrant a "harsh" sentence. Fletcher Kent has more – Jul 8, 2020

A Crown prosecutor says a former club promoter who was convicted of sexually assaulting five women over six years should receive an additional 15 years to his sentence because he planned his attacks.

Matthew McKnight, who is 2 1/2 years into his eight-year sentence, was convicted in 2020 for the assaults that happened in Edmonton between 2010 and 2016.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Griener told the Court of Appeal that McKnight should receive 22 1/2 years because he was premeditative in offering women free alcohol at the bars where he was working before he took them home and assaulted them.

“It’s not a case about casual sex,” Griener told the court Tuesday. “It’s a case about serial rape.”

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Griener argued that McKnight’s sentence should be longer because the assaults happened on different days with different women and should be recognized as separate sentences to be served consecutively.

“Each one was an isolated offence, not a spree,” Griener said.

McKnight’s lawyer, Peter Sankoff, told the court that his client accepts the blame for the assaults and has been taking sexual wellness classes. He added that the progress McKnight has made in prison should be taken into consideration.

Sankoff also argued that while McKnight did give the women alcohol, the assaults were not premeditated. The lawyer said two of the assaults met the criteria for being planned.

In January, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed a defence appeal for a new trial for McKnight. In that appeal, Sankoff argued the Crown used sarcasm and inflammatory language during cross-examination during the trial.

McKnight was an event promoter for Urban Sparq Hospitality and worked at several bars and clubs across the city.

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Court heard that he offered alcohol to the victims, who were between the ages of 18 and 22, then assaulted them at his downtown apartment.

Griener said the women testified that when they regained consciousness, they didn’t know where they were and had no memory of how they got there. No evidence of drugging or drug use was found by the court.

“They were made vulnerable by the perpetrator,” Griener said.

The court said it would make a written decision at a later date.

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