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Princess pays the price

Woman jailed two months for her part in kicking elder

Dawn Ostrem
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 29/01) - A former Caribou Carnival princess was convicted of playing a part in the beating of a drunk man on 50th Street earlier this summer.

Maria Carlos, who was four months pregnant at her trial on Aug. 23, was found guilty and sentenced to over two months in jail.

She and a gang of 12 to 15 teenagers were seen kicking the man in the ribs and face until he blacked out outside the Gold Range and was taken away in an ambulance on June 21.

"Beating up a drunk ... this pack assault was brutal and it has to be condemned," said Judge Michel Bourassa during his sentencing.

"This was a gang assault, the man is lucky he was not killed and there is no remorse."

The scene was witnessed by two women who sat in a van in the Centre Square parking lot for three hours, watching 50th Street activity for entertainment.

They both testified they saw the gang of teens surround the man as he struggled to get away into a cab. The taxi drove off without him and the group continued kicking him as he lay in the street.

Most of the kids were estimated to be between 15- and 16-years-old but Carlos, at 22, was the only one the two women recognized.

"I have nothing before me to indicate they have an axe to grind," Bourassa said about the witnesses.

"The accused testified at length, I observed her demeanour on and off the stand ... that leads me to reject her evidence as manufactured."

Carlos seemed to have a hard time refraining from speaking and motioning to members of the public during her trial. She had to be asked by the Crown several times to not interrupt while she cross-examined her.

The ex-princess said she was trying to stop the fight and was able to wade into the sea of violent teens because she was "highly respected" by them.

"I think of myself as a big sister to almost all the teenage girls out there," she testified.

The two witnesses in the van said they saw Carlos kick the man repeatedly after the rest of the crowd dispersed. They then came out of the van to call the police when Carlos asked them not to, got paper towel to clean the man's wounds and repeatedly apologized to him while he was unconscious.

The victim has fully recovered and also testified but his recollection of the event was vague.