CALGARY — A Calgary judge has found Dustin Paxton guilty of the aggravated assault and sexual assault of a friend and roommate who was starved and beaten on a regular basis.
But Justice Sheilah Martin found Paxton not guilty of forcibly confining the man, who cannot be named because of a court-ordered publication ban.
Martin said there was overwhelming evidence that Paxton abused the man. She said the victim could not consent to being a “whipping post.”
“He treated the victim as his personal servant or bitch,” Martin said in her verdict Monday. “I find there is evidence of wounding, maiming, disfiguring and his life was in danger on two occasions.”
She said she believed the victim, who testified that he performed sex acts on Paxton to appease him.
“He used sex as a further weapon of assault.”
But she said the victim was allowed to go to work every day and had freedom of movement, meaning Paxton could not be convicted of holding the man against his will.
Paxton grew visibly upset and was shaking his head during the verdict on sex assault.
The 34-year-old, was charged in August 2010 — four months after a man he had shared a place with in Calgary was dropped off near death at a Regina hospital.
His trial began last Sept. 27 and moved at an agonizingly slow pace. The Crown called 43 witnesses in the proceedings, which took 4 1/2 months.
The 28-year-old alleged victim testified that he was starved, humiliated and beaten — sometimes severely — on an almost daily basis.
He testified that he took the abuse because he didn’t want to appear to be “a sissy” and had dreams of making big money in Calgary through the business he and Paxton started.
He said he suffered severe facial trauma and had all of his ribs broken in a beating with a two-by-four.
The defence argued that the alleged victim was not tied up or locked in his room and could have left at any time.
The Crown brought in Kris Mohandie, a U.S.-based human captivity expert, who told court that the man reacted to the almost daily beatings like an abused pet or battered spouse and couldn’t flee the relationship.
But Martin said Mohandie’s testimony was only useful in a general way.
“His opinion is not conclusive proof of captivity.”
Monday’s ruling began with Martin rejecting the defence’s request of a stay of proceedings.
Paxton’s lawyer had argued that the case against his client should be thrown out because evidence showed a police officer coaching a witness.
But Martin said that “almost all of the defence claims are not made out in the facts.”
She then found Paxton guilty of assault on another man, a former employee who testified at his trial.
Martin said she believed Abraham Chutta was threatened and whipped with a dog leash.
Chutta was one of the major witnesses supporting allegations that Paxton assaulted the roommate.