Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Man accused in mugging of ex-Bison denied bail

With 16 prior adult convictions, he poses a 'high risk,' judge says

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Former U of M Bisons football player Sam Nemis  was stabbed in a brutal attack by three people while skiing on the river at The Forks on Sunday. One of his accused attackers was denied bail Thursday.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Former U of M Bisons football player Sam Nemis was stabbed in a brutal attack by three people while skiing on the river at The Forks on Sunday. One of his accused attackers was denied bail Thursday. Photo Store

A Winnipeg man accused in the group mugging of a former Manitoba Bisons player skiing on the river near The Forks won't be set free until he deals with what prosecutors allege is an "outrageous" case of random violence on an innocent man.

Provincial court Judge Anne Krahn denied bail to Andrew Montieth, 23, on Thursday.

She agreed with provincial Crown attorneys that releasing him before trial would undermine confidence in the justice system.

"I am satisfied that Mr. Montieth poses a high risk for re-involvement in the community," Krahn said.

Montieth faces a charge of robbery with a weapon following the knifepoint mugging of Sam Nemis, 31, on Sunday.

"This is an outrageous situation," Crown attorney Geoff Bayly told court.

Montieth is accused of acting in concert with two teenage boys to accost and rob Nemis on the river trail at The Forks around 7 p.m.

Details of the police investigation Bayly related to Krahn were consistent with a gripping account of the attack Nemis gave to Free Press columnist Gordon Sinclair Jr. this week.

Nemis, who had his headphones on, was suddenly grabbed from behind and stabbed in the kidney area while cross-country skiing on the river, Bayly said.

Montieth shouted, "Give me your wallet," then directed one of the teens to stab the victim, Bayly alleged.

With Nemis, a big man at 6-3, knocked down, "they lay a beating on him," Bayly said.

Nemis suffered cuts to his hands as he tussled with his attackers. One of the two he struggled with was clutching a brown-handled folding knife, court heard.

That's when the third suspect, a youth tasked with "standing six" (keeping a lookout), hit him several times with a ski pole, court heard.

Nemis managed to run away. So did his attackers, who took one of his skis with them. Three suspects, including Montieth, were arrested soon after at The Forks.

Bayly credited Nemis for giving "spot-on" descriptions of his attackers and a detailed statement to investigators.

He required sutures for cuts to his hands, shoulder blade and the kidney area.

Montieth has 16 prior adult convictions, including for assaulting a police officer, uttering threats and public mischief, Bayly said.

He urged Krahn to keep him in jail pending trial. "He attacked an unarmed man in a very public place -- in a family place, The Forks," Bayly said.

Montieth co-operated with police and was actually trying to shield Nemis from harm when he got on top of him in the scuffle, defence lawyer Dean Nygard said.

"He was very surprised... when one of the people he was with stabbed (the victim)," Nygard said. "He was not the one who planned this or wanted it to happen."

Police noted in their arrest report that Montieth told them he didn't want anyone stabbed, as he was trying to stay out of trouble, Nygard said. He also helped investigators in an unsuccessful bid to recover the knife, Nygard said.

The charge Montieth faces has not been proven. The case was remanded to March 14.

Nygard told Krahn he believed the two teenage co-accused have already been granted bail.

They cannot be identified.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 7, 2014 A7

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