CALGARY – A judge has determined a convicted torturer meets the criteria to be considered a dangerous offender.
Dustin Paxton slouched in his seat, shook his head no and smirked as Justice Sheilah Martin delivered her decision in Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench.
Martin says the 33-year-old is a high risk to reoffend violently.
She says the Crown has fully proven Paxton is a dangerous offender and has shown indifference to his crimes.
Martin is now discussing a sentence.
Paxton was convicted in February 2012 of aggravated and sexual assault for the prolonged and brutal abuse of a man who was his friend and roommate.
The man was dropped off, near death, at a Regina hospital in April 2010. He was emaciated, battered and bleeding.
The Crown had pushed for Paxton to be declared a dangerous offender so he could be kept in prison for an indeterminate period of time.
Paxton’s lawyer had recommended a six- to eight-year sentence — minus six years of credit for time served.
The victim delivered an emotional impact statement, describing his life after the abuse, at Paxton’s sentencing arguments in October.
He told court he has post-traumatic stress disorder and brain damage from the 18 months he was humiliated, starved, beaten and sexually assaulted on an almost-daily basis while living with Paxton in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“There is a big question mark hanging over my head 24-7,” said the man, whose identity is protected by a court order. “I have to live in a perpetual state of confusion and fear. I want to make sure nobody else ever has to suffer like me.”
Speaking slowly from the witness stand, with his two sisters at his side for support, the victim detailed how he has had several surgeries aimed at reconstructing his face. He said there are many more operations in his future.
“Before the assaults, I was extremely good-looking and very attractive to women and now I am disfigured,” he said. “I have an incurable traumatic brain injury because of the assaults, which I will have for the rest of my life.”
He said he has trouble sleeping, suffers anxiety and is unable to hold a job. He also has trouble with his balance, can’t swallow properly and has to drink through a straw because he lost some of his lip during the prolonged ordeal. His ribs were broken and his bowel ruptured.
Paxton’s trial heard how the smallest things, such as leftovers in the fridge, would provoke him to attack. The victim testified that he took the abuse because he didn’t want to look like “a sissy” and had dreams of making big money in the business he and Paxton had started.
Paxton addressed the court at the end of sentencing arguments, but offered no apology.
“I’m working with these experts who are working to make me a better person,” he said. “I will remain fully committed to a regime of counselling and programming that is essential to my rehabilitation.”