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Former Edmonton nightclub promoter sentenced to 8 years for 5 sex assaults

Former Edmonton nightclub promoter sentenced to 8 years for 5 sex assaults
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EDMONTON -- A former Edmonton nightclub promoter has been sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting five women.

Matthew McKnight, 33, was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women ranging in age from 17 to 22 between 2010 and 2016.

He pleaded not guilty, but a jury .

Judge Doreen Sulyma delivered the sentence in Alberta Court of Queen s Bench on Friday following a seven-day sentencing hearing.

Several victims and their supporters joined hands and stood in court while the sentence was delivered.

The hearing was briefly interrupted due to an outburst from one of McKnight s victims who screamed out her apparent discontent with the sentence before pushing over a courtroom computer monitor and being removed by sheriffs.

Judge Sulyma s sentence for the five assaults totalled to 16 1/2 years, but she reduced that figure, citing several mitigating factors.

"I do not consider the moral blameworthiness of Mr. McKnight to be so grave as to require such a lengthy sentence to demonstrate societys need to denounce and deter other like-minded persons," Sulyma told the court.

Sulyma cited a 2016 beating McKnight suffered in the Edmonton Remand Centre as well as him being a first-time offender with what she believes to be good prospects of rehabilitation as mitigating factors in cutting the sentence to eight years.

"A sentence of 16.5 years simply exceeds what would be just and appropriate," Sulyma said.

"Where a potential for rehabilitation exists, a crushing sentence should be avoided.

She found that McKnight s lack of use of condom in the assaults was an aggravating factor. She also found that bruising documented on one of the victims was an aggravating factor in one of the counts.

"It reflects a violence in the exchange, she said.

Sulyma ruled that Crown prosecutors had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a drug beyond alcohol had been involved in the assaults.

McKnight s defence had argued for a sentence of between over four years and nine years. Crown prosectors were seeking a 22 1/2 year sentence.

Court heard McKnight met most of the women in bars and assaulted them at his apartment.

He was remanded into custody after sentencing. A number of his victims broke out in applause as he was led away after sentencing.

"It felt like I had a voice," one of the complainants told CTV News following the hearing.

"I might not have won in a way but I feel like in the end, it s slightly worth it knowing we did it together and he s getting some time."
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