Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Terminally ill rapist begs court for mercy in sentencing
A terminally ill Winnipeg rapist is pleading for mercy from the courts, saying he will likely die in prison if forced to spend any more time behind bars.
Amuri Musaka, 40, was found guilty earlier this year of a 2011 attack that left his victim, a female family friend, suffering from physical and emotional anguish.
Since the incident, Musaka has been diagnosed with cancer of the liver that has now spread to his lungs. He may have as little as six months to live, court heard Thursday. Several medical reports were filed with the court, confirming his status.
The Crown is seeking a three-year prison sentence for Musaka, saying that is the typical starting point for major sexual assaults in Canada. Musaka has spent the past 21 months in pre-trial custody, which would be deducted from his overall penalty. That would leave him with about 15 months left.
But defence lawyer Mike Cook is asking for a rare judicial exemption of giving his client time spent in custody, allowing him to immediately be released to spend his final days with his wife and five young children.
"This is an exceptional case and you can give a sentence which deviates from the norm," said Cook.
Queen’s Bench Justice Lori Spivak has reserved her decision, but said it will come down soon given the urgency of the situation.
Musaka spoke briefly in court Thursday while his wife looked on from the gallery.
"I’m asking you to have mercy on me. I’m scared to die in a place where I’m not with my kids or wife," Musaka told the judge.
Prosecutor Tim Chudy read an emotional victim impact statement from the 32-year-old woman Musaka attacked. She continues to undergo counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder and also contracted a sexually transmitted disease from Musaka.
"I was in shock, total disbelief that it happened. I felt contaminated," she wrote in her statement.
Chudy called the crime an "outrageous" offence which requires stiff punishment, even considering Musaka’s delicate health situation.
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