Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Gang rapists allowed to enter plea deals
Victim, witnesses no-shows at hearing
Two men have pleaded guilty to gang-raping a heavily intoxicated teen girl at a North End schoolyard -- an attack partially filmed on a cellphone camera.
Samual Gott, 20, and Gerald Anderson, 27, each pleaded guilty Thursday to sexual assault on the day their preliminary hearing was to begin in provincial court.
Neither the victim -- who was 17 at the time of the May 26, 2013, early-morning attack -- nor two key witnesses turned up to testify at the hearing.
This would have presented major legal hurdles for prosecutors if the case had gone ahead and prompted plea deals to be put on the table.
Anderson and the victim were in a relationship and were out partying in the hours before the attack, Judge Rocky Pollack was told.
The girl had consumed a staggering amount of vodka, court heard.
After she and Anderson left a house party together around 4:30 a.m., he took her to a play structure at William Whyte School on Powers Street.
She passed out there from the effects of the liquor.
Anderson removed her clothing and sexually assaulted her at a time when she could not consent to sexual activity, Crown attorney Scott Cooper said.
Witnesses living nearby told police they awoke to strange sounds outside their window.
They thought them to be "something like a cat, meowing loud," until they looked outside, saw the assault and called 911.
While police were en route, Gott walked up on the crime scene "out of nowhere," said Cooper.
Anderson responded to the sudden presence of Gott -- apparently a total stranger -- by tossing him a condom.
Gott then raped the girl without using it, court heard.
"They don't know each other -- this just happened this way," Cooper said.
Police pulled up and both men tried to flee across the schoolyard field but were quickly arrested.
A Samsung cellphone was seized from Anderson.
On it, investigators found a 16-second video clip of the rape in progress, said Cooper.
The victim was taken by ambulance to hospital because of her level of intoxication.
She has only a "very patchy" recollection of events.
"She was asking police what happened," said Cooper.
After the men were charged, the victim elected not to co-operate with the prosecution.
She even sent a letter to Anderson's lawyer contradicting described events, Cooper said.
Her unwillingness to testify, combined with the other no-show witnesses, prompted the Crown to make efforts to secure convictions.
The Crown and lawyers for Gott and Anderson are recommending they be handed two-year jail terms, plus three years of probation each.
Pollack said he needed more time to think about Anderson's case and if the sentence being proposed by the lawyers is a fit punishment.
He has several prior convictions for violent acts, causing Pollack concern about the suitability of the proposed jail sentence.
Gott lives in Gods Lake Narrows and won't have his sentencing hearing until later this year.
Anderson hails from Tadoule Lake and Thompson and has three young sons.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 30, 2014 A6
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