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This article was published 14/4/2016 (1316 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba's highest court has refused to interfere in a case in which a career criminal went on a random rampage that involved four separate attacks — including the rape of an eight-year-old boy.
Peter Laporte was convicted of eight charges following a lengthy trial in 2012 that included 65 witnesses. He was then branded a dangerous offender and given an indefinite prison sentence with no guarantee of ever being released.
Laporte, 41, filed an appeal of his conviction, claiming the trial judge shouldn't have allowed so-called similar fact evidence to be used against him, should have permitted his charges to be severed into separate trials and should have screened out "hearsay" evidence that was used against him. He was also seeking to exclude pivotal DNA evidence taken from a penile swab which linked him to the sexual attack.
In the alternative, his lawyers also claimed his sentence was harsh and excessive and should be overturned to a fixed number. There are about 500 dangerous offenders in Canada, and only a few dozen have actually been released. The remainder are likely to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
The Court of Appeal released a 70-page decision this week in which they upheld all aspects of the case, saying there were no tangible errors in law which would require intervention.
"It was open to the trial judge to find there is no reasonable expectation that the accused's danger to the public could be adequately managed by any measure short of indeterminate incarceration. Indeed, there was no evidence to suggest that the accused's risk could be managed in any other way," the high court wrote.
Laporte has been deemed a high risk to reoffend with poor prospects of ever being rehabilitated. An extensive forensic report wass filed with the court which studied his life and criminal history. He has more than 40 prior convictions and has been found to have "significant psychopathic personality traits."
"Laporte has no remorse for his sexual crimes or empathy for his victims," Queen's Bench Justice Perry Schulman wrote in a 20-page sentencing decision in 2013. "Laporte's problems are so numerous, so serious and so interrelated that he is unlikely to significantly reduce the risk that he presents in the foreseeable future."
Laporte first sexually abused a 38-year-old woman in December 2007. He jumped her inside a Cumberland Avenue apartment block, claiming he had a knife and would stab her. Laporte took the woman into a stairwell, removed her clothing and raped and beat her before fleeing.
He was arrested the next month but was released from custody in November 2008, when the Crown stayed the charges because of problems with the case, including difficulty identifying him as the culprit. The charges were revived weeks later when Laporte struck again in three more attacks. But the victim of the 2007 attack was unable to testify due to being in a coma after a traffic accident.
On Nov. 23, 2008, Laporte followed a child into an apartment block on Balmoral Street, taking him into a stairwell and violently sexually assaulting him. The boy escaped and ran after someone came into the stairwell. He was taken to hospital and treated for serious injuries.
The attack was partially captured on surveillance tape. Laporte's mother identified him as the adult in the video despite Laporte denying any involvement. There was also DNA evidence against him.
About 6:45 p.m. the same day, Laporte went to a Cumberland Avenue apartment block and cornered a 23-year-old woman who was holding her two-year-old child into an elevator. He held a knife against her body and tried to pull the two victims into a stairwell once they exited. Another tenant interrupted the incident. Again, there was video surveillance and Laporte was identified as the attacker.
The final incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. that same day when he attacked a 48-year-old woman who was walking to work from her Agnes Street home. Laporte offered her alcohol and she went with him to a nearby residence on Furby Street, where he began attacking her and eventually forced sexual intercourse on her.
A caretaker heard the woman's screams and rushed to help, but Laporte attacked him. The caretaker eventually overpowered Laporte and sat on him until police arrived. Laporte lashed out at the arresting officers, kicking and punching them while screaming he had HIV and was going to infect them.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.