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Judge rejects bid for maximum sentence, gives rapist 5 years behind bars

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Manitoba justice officials have lost their bid to impose a maximum sentence against a convicted rapist.

Vernon Dyke appeared in court Monday, where the Crown requested a 10-year period behind bars for his sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl.

Prosecutor Jennifer Mann cited the violent nature of the 2010 attack, as well as Dyke’s extensive criminal background and high risk to re-offend, which includes openly fantasizing about one day committing a murder.

"I don’t see there is a lot of hope for him," said Mann.

But Queen’s Bench Justice Morris Kaufman disagreed, saying there’s no point in giving Dyke the longest sentence allowed by law. Failing to offer the young man a glimmer of hope and chance at rehabilitation may only be "deferring the explosion," Kaufman said.

Kaufman instead imposed a five-year sentence, less nine months of time already served by Dyke. He also placed him on the national sex-abuse registry for 20 years.

"I take very seriously the Crown’s concern regarding safety of the public," said Kaufman. "But a 10-year sentence is not a guarantee the risk is gone."

Dyke attacked the young female victim two years ago, causing bodily injury in the process, court was told.

While in custody, he racked up 37 documented incidents. He has made threatening, intimidating and sexual comments to guards and court officials and even talked about one day taking a life.

Defence lawyer Ted Mariash agreed it is taking his client a "long time to get the message" but suggested all hope isn’t lost.

"In Canada we don’t simply lock an offender and throw away the key," said Mariash.

Dyke suffered through a horrific upbringing and has been diagnosed as suffering from several cognitive issues, including fetal alcohol syndrome. He was described as "anti-social, impulsive and manipulative" in a pre-sentence report tendered in court.

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