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Last accused in hazing at SJR pleads guilty

THE final legal chapter has been written on a series of sexually explicit "hazing" incidents at a prestigious Winnipeg private school.

A 21-year-old Winnipeg man is the last of four accused to plead guilty to his role in the 2009 attacks at St. John's-Ravenscourt School. The accused, who was 17 at the time and can't be named, admitted Tuesday to six charges of assault with a weapon. He will be sentenced at a later date and remains free on bail.

Three other younger teens previously admitted to the same charges and were given probation under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The Crown dropped numerous other charges against the four accused, including multiple counts of sexual assault, forcible confinement and uttering threats.

Sources told the Free Press at least some of the alleged victims have since left the school or the country, which resulted in some of the charges not being pursued.

Police identified at least 12 students at SJR who were abused between September and December 2009, court previously heard. The four accused admitted to attacking six of them with a wooden walking stick, which was "pressed against their buttocks and anal area."

 

No freedom for killing HIV-positive boyfriend

A Winnipeg man who beat his boyfriend to death with a golf club after learning the victim was HIV-positive has lost his bid to remain free.

Michael Pearce, 43, walked into court Wednesday hoping to be given a sentence of time already served in custody. He left in handcuffs after receiving 51/2 more years in addition to the 18 months he previously spent behind bars before being granted bail.

Pearce was convicted of manslaughter earlier this year following a jury trial. The Crown was seeking a total of 12 years for what they called a horrific attack much closer to murder given the violence involved.

Queen's Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg gave Pearce a sentence of seven years on paper.

Stuart Mark, 36, was found bludgeoned to death inside his Alfred Avenue home in January 2007. He had been struck at least 58 times with the weapon, court was told.

"Stuart was very special... kind-hearted, trusting, generous, friendly and an optimist," his mother, Gemma Ring, told court earlier this year in a victim impact statement. "My son was taken from me much too soon and I miss him with all my heart."

 

-- Mike McIntyre

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