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Man who left woman for dead acted 'out of character': lawyer

Apr 05 2012

Jaikob Johnston will have to wait to hear his sentence for a 2009 attack that left a prostitute naked and beaten in a parking lot at Hampton Park.

Johnston, 21 at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault, although he asserted he was too drunk to remember much of what happened.

Victoria provincial court Judge Josiah Wood said Wednesday at Johnston's sentencing hearing that he did not believe his claims of memory loss.

The attack left Johnston's victim, now 28, hospitalized for injuries to her chest, neck and head, as well as a badly swollen tongue.

Defence lawyer Tom Morino told Wood his client's actions were "out of character" and said he had no previous criminal record.

Crown prosecutor Laura Ford called for a five-year sentence, less allowance for time spent in custody before coming to court. That would amount to three years and nine months, she said, a federal sentence that would give him access to comprehensive programs aimed at addressing his behaviour.

Morino called for a sentence of three to four years. With credit for time in custody, that would be two years less a day - meaning Johnston could spend his time in the provincial system. Morino also suggested three years of probation.

Early on Sept. 5, 2009, Johnston picked up the victim in the Rock Bay area.

The pair walked over three kilometres to the Burnside-area rooming house where Johnston lived and went to his room. The victim said they were talking about payment when Johnston suddenly began to strangle her.

"She woke up, she's cold, she's outside," Ford said. "She's naked, not a stitch of clothing."

She said the way the woman was left to the elements "was humiliating to the extreme."

Johnston has previously said that he left the woman in the park because he was afraid he had killed her. He said his thoughts turned to his young son, and he pondered calling the police.

A nurse driving by on her way to work spotted the woman and came to her assistance.

Saanich police found traces of the victim's blood on the underside of Johnston's mattress. He initially claimed to have been drinking with friends at the time of the attack.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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