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High court slashes sentence for brutal offender

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Manitoba’s highest court has reduced a 100-month prison sentence given to a Winnipeg man who claims he was wrongfully convicted of a violent, prolonged attack against his ex-girlfriend.

Allan Wishlow was found guilty last year of multiple charges, including aggravated assault, assault, mischief and breaching several court orders that banned him from having any contact with the victim.

The woman described during the trial how Wishlow became enraged because she began dating another man. He grabbed her out of bed one night around 3 a.m. and began an attack that lasted several hours.

The woman told court she was punched in the face, kicked in the stomach, slammed into a stucco wall and held underwater for a short time. She said Wishlow then sliced her wrists, threatened to cut off a toe, urinated on her and threatened to douse her in gasoline and set her ablaze.

Wishlow has refused to take responsibility and claims he has no idea who was responsible for the August 2009 incident, which initially left the victim in critical condition. He continued to maintain his innocence at his sentencing hearing, telling Queen's Bench Justice Keyser how much he has suffered as a result of the case.

"I've never heard anything so completely self-absorbed in my life," the judge said in reference to Wishlow's 20-minute statement to the court. She said Wishlow showed absolutely no concern for the victim, either during the attack or long after the fact.

"I don't know if he's trying to convince himself or his family," said Keyser. She rejected his denials at trial, saying there is plenty of evidence pointing directly at him. She said the victim's story was credible, the injuries couldn't be disputed and pointed to DNA evidence at the scene that included Wishlow's blood, plus cuts and bruises on his hands.

Wishlow was given 54 more months in prison, plus the equivalent of 46 months of pretrial custody. He claimed the sentence was "harsh and excessive" and that Keyser unfairly treated his lack of remorse as an aggravating factor.

The Court of Appeal agreed to modify his punishment in a decision released this week. They said Keyser was wrong to only give him single-time credit for 20 months of his pre-trial custody (while giving him double-time credit for the other 13 for a total credit of 46 months).

Keyser had differentiated between the 20 months he spent in general population and the 13 months he spent in protective segregation after being attacked by other inmates.

But the high court has now ruled Wishlow’s entire 33 months of pre-trial custody should have been given double-time credit of 66 months. That means his overall sentence of 100 months has now been reduced to 80.

Parliament has since outlawed the practice of double-time credit, but offenders like Wishlow, who committed crimes prior to the changes, are still eligible.

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