The man who was allegedly repeatedly assaulted by Dustin Paxton over many months testified for the first time against his former roommate Monday saying he didn't leave because he didn't want to be seen as a "sissy."
Paxton, 31, is being tried in Calgary on charges including the forcible confinement, sexual assault and aggravated assault of his one-time business partner and roommate, who cannot be named because of a publication ban.
The alleged victim was dropped off at a Regina hospital in April 2010 weighing 87 pounds, suffering from numerous broken bones and a mutilated face.
A screen was set up ahead of the alleged torture victim's testimony so that he wouldn't be "face-to-face" with his alleged tormentor.
While the man spoke, Paxton sat behind the screen taking notes.
His alleged victim, whose face is still disfigured but has regained weight, spoke slowly and was seated because his balance is poor.
"I was just friends with him at first, but our friendship grew stronger over time," the alleged victim said about his relationship with Paxton.
The man said Paxton never slept in his own room, instead he slept on the living room floor in the house where they lived with other roommates.
One of those other roommates was Abraham Chutta, who was also repeatedly beaten, the man said. Paxton is also facing charges of assaulting and threatening Chutta.
Paxton grew more violent, alleged victim testified
He said the beatings started on Oct. 31, 2008, when he moved to Calgary from Winnipeg.
That first night in the city the alleged victim said the pair went to Scream Fest, a Halloween event with haunted houses.
Later at Paxton's house, the man said, he was sitting in a folding chair, which got caught on a electrical wire and fell backwards.
"Dustin got mad and started hitting me in the head with a steel-toed boot," he testified.
After the first assault, the man said Paxton apologized, so he let it go because he didn't want to be seen as a "sissy."
He said Paxton seemed like such a nice guy to everyone else.
The alleged victim said they got along only because he did whatever Paxton said.
"Only because I didn't want to get beat," he said. "He was getting more and more violent every day."
The alleged victim said Paxton used to strangle him into unconsciousness every day, sometimes with his hoodie.
In the courtroom, Paxton shook his head with a slight smile.
The Crown asked him why he didn't leave. The alleged victim replied he didn't want to think of himself as weak.
"I had just moved from Winnipeg," he said. "I had big dreams."
The man said he was only allowed to eat one meal a day, describing how he would sneak off to eat doughnuts while at work.
During the trial, witnesses have testified that Paxton's alleged victim had "cauliflowered ears," and the man testified that Paxton would smash his ears over and over.
"[Paxton] either hit me with a cane or leash or an extension cord, or constantly threw me around and through the drywall," he said.
Judge rules prosecutor not in conflict
Earlier on Monday Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sheilah Martin dismissed Paxton’s lawyer’s request that the Crown prosecutor be removed from the case.
Jim Lutz alleged in court Monday that Crown and police officials made a deal with Robert Cannon, a witness in the case who lived and worked with Paxton and the alleged victim, to get him to testify earlier this month.
But Martin ruled that "no reasonable person would conclude there is a conflict of interest" and that Joe Mercier will not be replaced.
Cannon has been facing some separate legal troubles of his own. Paxton's lawyer claimed Cannon was told he wouldn't have to go to jail if he testified at Paxton's trial.
Crown lawyer Joe Mercier said there was no such deal.
Proceedings on Monday began with continued testimony from Calgary Det. Doug Crippen, the investigator who interviewed Paxton shortly after his arrest.
A Canada-wide search led to his arrest in Edmonton in August 2010 in connection with the alleged, long-running series of attacks.
The attacks — which the victim's family said amounted to torture — are believed to have occurred between December 2008 and the spring of 2010 in Calgary and Regina.
The judge-alone trial began on Sept. 27 and is scheduled to last five weeks.
The alleged victim is scheduled to be in the witness box again on Tuesday.
A previous version of this story identified Robert Cannon as Paxton's second alleged victim. In fact, while Cannon did testify he was assaulted by Paxton, Paxton's alleged second victim is Abraham Chutta. Paxton is charged with assaulting and threatening Chutta.Oct 13, 2013 2:14 AM MT