Teen gets 17 months
Man pleads guilty to role in bloody summer beating

by Ian Elliot
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 31/97) - A man who admitted to being involved in a bloody street attack in July has been sentenced to 17 months in jail.

In territorial court on Tuesday, Bradley Edward Short, 19, pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and breaching a court order by leaving Yellowknife for Ontario before his trial.

The attack happened in front of the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre in early July. Jason Madsen, 27, and Greg Mason, 34, were beaten, kicked and hit with a piece of lumber by a group of four men.

The beating was so severe that a shoeprint was visible on the face of one of the men when he was taken to hospital. The court heard the group was afraid they had killed one of the victims when the attack was over.

Short was the first of the four people accused in the attack to come to trial. Two others have pleaded not guilty and a warrant has been issued for the fourth.

Short apologized for the attack prior to sentencing and said his judgment had been clouded by alcohol that night, but it cut no ice with Judge Michel Bourassa.

"Everybody agrees that crimes of violence rightly and properly should receive jail sentences," he told Short.

Short admitted to drinking on the roof of the friendship centre on the evening of July 2, when the two men passed by and one called out to ask what the group was doing on the roof.

The court heard that a pushing match began when the men climbed down off the building and it escalated when one of the group, not Short, grabbed a piece of lumber and began hitting Madsen with it.

Madsen was hospitalized for a broken nose and cuts to the face while Mason was injured but did not need to be kept in hospital. Eighteen photographs of the men's injuries were submitted as evidence at the trial.

The incident was one of a number of apparently unprovoked violent beatings in the city this summer.

Short surrendered himself to police in Ontario, where he had travelled to find work. He has been in custody for the last month and a half.

If he had not pleaded guilty to the attack and turned himself in, Bourassa said he would have faced a sentence of more than two years if found guilty at trial.

Bourassa also noted that the man who was most severely beaten was scarred after suffering numerous cuts and lacerations to his face.

"It just boggles the mind, this level of violence for no reason."

Bourassa sentenced Short to 16 months for the assault and another month for breaching the court order by leaving the city.