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Severe beating nets attacker 7 years in prison

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A young Winnipeg man will serve seven years in prison for beating and nearly killing an innocent man at a drinking party at a Notre Dame Avenue apartment suite.

Charlie Olenick, 21, learned his fate today after previously pleading guilty to aggravated assault. The seven-year term comes on top of the months he has left to serve on a prior robbery conviction.

Olenick and the 36-year-old victim were drinking and socializing on the morning of April 15, 2012 when he and a teen lashed out at the victim and severely beat him in the head.

The victim suffered catastrophic injuries including bleeding on the brain and spent months recuperating in hospital and a care home.

He's now dependent on his mother for round-the-clock support, is unable to go back to work and is suicidal because of the downward turn his life's taken because of his medical condition.

It wasn't clear what precipitated the assault, but Olenick indicated to police everything was fine up until he saw the victim chatting with a woman at the party.

The Crown pressed provincial court Judge Don Slough to impose a sentence of nine years, saying despite his young age, Olenick has a lengthy prior record for violence and a substance abuse problem he appears unwilling to tackle.

"The accused, I say to you, Your Honour, has had his chances," Crown attorney David Rampersad said.

Slough noted the victim's severe injuries when passing sentence, saying protection of the public was a paramount factor in his mind.

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