Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Two years for role in beating by group

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IT was a cowardly group beating of an unsuspecting stranger. Now one of the leaders of the "mob" has been sentenced to two years in jail for her role in the Main Street attack.

Deana Sutherland, 40, would likely have received a much longer penalty Friday if not for her difficult aboriginal background, which justice officials took into consideration as a Supreme Court edict requires.

"There's no question the accused had a horrific childhood," said Queen's Bench Justice Doug Abra. Sutherland's past includes having alcoholic parents, being abused and suffering from chronic addiction for much of her life.

Abra noted a sentence in the range of five or six years might typically have been meted out, if not for "mitigating" factors that include Sutherland's upbringing, a guilty plea to aggravated assault and lack of a prior criminal record.

The victim was walking down Main Street near Higgins Avenue in July 2011 when as many as six people jumped him for no apparent reason. He was repeatedly punched, kicked in the head and stomped on -- with Sutherland inflicting much of the damage. Her only explanation is they were drunk.

"Clearly there was a mob mentality. By her actions, she was one of the leaders of the mob," said Abra.

The man suffered extensive injuries, including a broken jaw that had to be wired shut for six weeks, plus broken ribs and a broken hand.

"It is indeed fortunate that the victim didn't die or suffer severe brain damage," said Abra.

Sutherland had asked to be spared any custody, arguing a period of probation was sufficient punishment. But Abra said jail was required given the serious nature of the crime.

Five male co-accused remain before the courts on similar charges.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 3, 2012 B3

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