A convicted rapist who is dying of cancer and pleaded for immediate release from jail will have to spend three more months behind bars.
Amuri Musaka, 40, had begged a Manitoba judge for mercy last week, saying he wanted to go home to spend his final days with his wife and five young children.
But Queen’s Bench Justice Lori Spivak ruled today that Musaka’s crime calls out for a longer penalty than the 22 months of time he’s already spent in custody. She gave him enhanced time-and-a-half credit of 33 months for his time served, saying he’s clearly had it more difficult than other inmates given his terminal illness. And then she tacked on three more months, bringing it to a three-year total sentence – at least on paper.
The Crown had requested a three-year sentence, saying it was the traditional "starting point" for major sexual assaults. But they asked that Musaka only be given single-time credit for pre-trial custody, which would have required an additional 14 months.
"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 said last week during his sentencing hearing.
Musaka was found guilty earlier this year of a July 2012 sexual assault that left his 32-year-old victim suffering from physical and emotional pain that continues to this day.
Since the attack, Musaka has been diagnosed with cancer of the liver that has spread to his lungs. He may have only six months to live, court was told. Several medical reports that confirm his terminal illness were filed with the court.
"This is an exceptional case and you can give a sentence which deviates from the norm," defence lawyer Mike Cook had argued last week. "These are extremely unique circumstances."
Cook said today he will be filing an appeal of Spivak’s sentence, and apply to have Musaka released on bail pending appeal as early as next week.
Musaka came to Canada in 2006 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and had no criminal record prior to the attack.
Prosecutor Tim Chudy read an emotional victim-impact statement in court from the woman Musaka attacked. She was dating Musaka's friend at the time, and the crime occurred during an evening of socializing. 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 that requires stiff punishment, even considering Musaka's terminal illness.