Painting with punches
After four attacks, he's in the pen

by Chris Meyers Almey
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 25/97) - Some artists paint faces, but artist Rene David Nasken is going to spend the next two years in custody, contemplating why he punches them.

In territorial court last week Nasken listened to the recital of attacks on four people in Yellowknife he committed March 21.

Crown prosecutor Scott Couper told Judge Michel Bourassa that without provocation Nasken hit a person three times in the face in a Franklin Avenue restaurant.

Later in a downtown hotel he grabbed woman around the neck and punched in the face, Couper said. He also punched a man in the nose several times and under the jaw, causing a long cut which required stitches. An hour later Nasken was fighting outside a bar on 50th Street.

In that fight, Couper said, the other fighter agreed to go outside, but Nasken had a beer bottle, which he smashed against his opponent's head and also kicked him in the head.

Defence lawyer Brad Enge suggested Nasken had been provoked, but Bourassa said he appears to have a hair trigger. The judge also had little patience for Enge's reference to an injury his client received in an RCMP cruiser in 1988 while being transported from Rae to Yellowknife, an injury for he has not had treated.

Enge also said Nasken, whom Enge described as a talented artist, suffers from blackouts which are exacerbated by alcohol.

Nasken has prior convictions for aggravated assault, possessing a weapon and carrying a concealed weapon.

"This man is dangerous," Bourassa said. "He has left many victims in his wake."

Nasken was convicted of two counts of assault, and one count each of assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.