Sexual assault conviction held in Saskatchewan courts against Awet Mehari

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on January 11, 2020

Awet Mehari, longtime Saskatchewan rap manager for Regina rapper Pimton, had his sentence upheld yesterday after attempting to appeal a sexual assault conviction he had received in January of 2019 for having non-consensual sex with a woman who was asleep. Judge McMurtry sentenced Mehari for a three-year prison sentence back in May. 

Mehari and his defence team claimed that the sex could have still been consensual, and on Friday, his arguments were heard at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals to the Crown and defence council. 

Mehari’s lawyer Aaron Fox had made several arguments to the appeals court, all hinging on the notion that the judge had improperly put the onus to prove innocence onto the defence and not to determine guilt onto the prosecution. 

The judge found this was not a credible claim as Mehari, back in January 2019, had not adequately been able to explain why the women who alleged assault left the bedroom in “hysterics” on the night in question.

Fox had requested that the question should have been shut down as Mehari answering, that he believed the woman had set the whole situation up for monetary gain, had unfairly led to McMurtry finding him guilty. Although it was reiterated that the judge based her decision on the reliability of the woman’s testimony opposed to Mehari who’s defence relied on hypotheticals.

Fox also attempted to argue that it can not be proven that Mehari sexually assaulted the women as by her testimony, she couldn’t remember anything between standing at the bedroom door and Mehari having sex with her. Dean Sinclair, the appeals crown prosecutor, had maintained the judges finding that the entire case was based on the fact that the woman had been asleep, so consent was impossible.

Sinclair argued that there is no good reason why a woman would consent to sex at one time and then feel the need to run from the room in hysteric later.

The Crown agreed with Sinclair that judge McMurtry had not delivered “uneven levels of scrutiny” to Mehari’s and the woman’s stories. Mehari’s defence relied on overemphasizing unrelated witness testimony, which did not disprove any of the evidence of the sexual assault taking place. 

This decision means Mehari will likely serve the remaining two and a half years in prison, seeing as this appeal had been so roundly thrown out of court. With lighter sentences already being delivered for serious crimes, where judges have refused to enforce mandatory minimums sentences, questions remain over whether offenders should at least serve for the whole duration of their sentence given.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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