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Two years for 'gang beating'

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 05/06) - A Yellowknife man who beat a pedestrian with a beer bottle and stole his laptop computer during a violent "gang robbery" was sentenced to two years in jail earlier this week.

Charlie Koe was drunk and high when he jumped the victim as he walked through an alley in downtown Yellowknife last October, court heard Tuesday afternoon.

Two other men have also been charged in connection with the attack. Both have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to appear in court later this spring.

During the incident, the victim was punched, kicked and hit with a beer bottle - as he lay helpless on the ground behind the Northern News Services building - before making off with his computer.

"This was a mugging. This was a gang beating," said territorial court Judge Robert Gorin as he handed down the two-year term.

"The public has a right to be protected."

Gorin rejected a joint suggestion from Crown and defence lawyers for a one-year sentence, calling the recommendation "lenient."

"The facts of this offence are extremely serious," said Gorin.

He gave Koe one year credit for the six months he spent behind bars awaiting trial - standard practice in courts across the country.

The beating left the victim with a deep gash on the back of his head, an abrasion on his temple and bruises all over his body, said Crown attorney Janice Walsh.

The victim, who wanted to watch the Northern Lights from the dark alley, said Koe and the other assailants laughed as they beat him.

Two police officers spotted the aftermath of the attack. One stayed with the victim and the other chased Koe and two other suspects as they ran through the alley between 50th and 51st Streets. Koe was taken into custody without incident, said Walsh.

In court on Tuesday, Koe apologized for the attack. "I am really, really sorry for what I did. It wasn't planned. We were drunk."

Koe's criminal record includes 18 convictions for property crimes.

He was sentenced to two years in a federal prison in 2002 after admitting to a string of break and enters.

"Now it appears you have graduated to violence as well," said Gorin.