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'Violent offender' given five-year prison term

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A man who savagely beat a stranger on a summer night in July of 2011 was given a five-year prison sentence Wednesday.

Justice Christopher Mainella described Jerry Kondratiuk as a "violent offender …. who was prepared to unleash his fury on strangers," for the July 27, 2011, attack.

Kondratiuk had pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for his role in the beating of a 51-year-old man in the early evening hours that day on Main Street, near Higgins Avenue.

Mainella accepted the joint recommendation from Crown and defence counsel of a five-year sentence, with straight credit for the two years Kondratiuk spent in custody since his arrest; leaving him with three more years in prison.

Crown prosecutor Cindy Sholdice said the victim had lost his glasses and was offering people on the street a reward of $25 for anyone willing to help him find them.

Kondratiuk confronted the man, demanded the $25 and then attacked him without provocation, Sholdice said, adding a correctional guard who was driving by at the time saw Kondratiuk place the victim in a headlock, take him to the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked him as the victim cried out for help.

"It was a savage and cruel act," Sholdice said of Kondratiuk’s beating. "It was an unprovoked attack on a stranger."

Sholdice said up to five other people who happened to be walking by joined the attack, kicking and punching the victim as Kondratiuk held him down.

Police responded to the correctional officer’s 911 call and took all six attackers into custody. None of the people knew each other and all were intoxicated to varying degrees, including the victim.

Sholdice said sentences for similar offences ranged from four-six years.

Along with Kondratiuk, two other individuals were also charged for their role in the beating. One of the co-accused was given a four-year sentence earlier this week and the other a sentence of two years less a day.

"Decency was suspended for a period of time in this area of Winnipeg," Mainella said of the attack.

The victim suffered a broken jaw and permanent damage to his hand. He now suffers from paranoia, and is fearful of crowds.

Sholdice said Kondratiuk had a lengthy record of mostly petty, non-violent crimes as a youth but escalated to more seriousness as an adult. He was convicted in 2002 of aggravated sexual assault and given a seven-year sentence, minus credit for time served while awaiting sentencing. Sholdice said justice officials deemed Kondratiuk to be too violent and too much of a risk to re-offend to be eligible for early release and he served the entire sentence.

Once released, Sholdice said he was placed on probation with strict conditions, which he repeatedly violated, with the result that he was continuously in and out of jail until his arrest again in July 2011.

However, Sholdice said that Kondratiuk is an intelligent and articulate individual who just wasn’t motivated to change his violent ways.

Defence counsel Len Tailleur said Kondratiuk shouldn’t be faulted for violating the conditions imposed on his release after serving time for the aggravated sexual assault, adding the conditions were too severe and guaranteed that he would re-offend.

Mainella said he disagreed with Tailleur’s assessment, adding that Kondratiuk, while clearly intelligent, made no attempt to take any programming to alter his behaviour.

"You have not learned your lesson," Mainella told Kondratiuk. "You are a threat to public safety now and in the future."

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