A dangerous offender found guilty of violent assaults in Alberta and Saskatchewan over the last two decades will go to prison indefinitely.
A lower court had sentenced Cory Bitternose to 20 years in jail following a vicious assault on two women in Banff in 2008.
On Tuesday, the Alberta Court of Appeal agreed to overturn that sentence and send Bitternose to prison for an indeterminate period.
"[Bitternose] has committed many very nasty and dangerous crimes against randomly select innocent people, and it appears to be happenstance that one or more of his victims has not died," wrote Justice Jean Côté. "At present, he is a loaded gun with a hair trigger."
Pawel Milczarek, Bitternose's lawyer, wouldn't say whether he will appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court.
"We are very disappointed with the Court of Appeal decision," he said.
Lawyer Susan Hughson, director of the Alberta Justice Appeals Unit, said the new sentence was appropriate.
"We are very satisfied with the decision. Mr. Bitternose has a brutal violent history and the offences he committed were, as the court noted 'prolonged and terrifying in the extreme,'" she said in a statement.
"There is no evidence that the extreme risk [Bitternose] presents to the public can be managed by any form of reasonable, available community supervision."
Long criminal history
Bitternose has a long history of break-ins at homes and offices, with a criminal record dating back to 1987.
In 1990, he broke into a Calgary office building washroom and beat a woman so badly that he left the imprint of his shoe on the victim's face. Bitternose pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to more than five years in prison.
In 2004, Bitternose pleaded guilty to a string of assaults in Regina. According to transcripts from his sentencing hearing, he beat a man so badly at a party that the victim needed facial surgery.
Bitternose then went to the man's house and raped his girlfriend several times.
Months later, Bitternose offered a ride to a woman walking in a Regina alley. She got into his car, but when she tried to back out of an agreement to trade sex for money, Bitternose kicked, punched and choked her.
Bitternose also pleaded guilty to a string of Calgary break-ins in the summer of 2008. The court heard that Bitternose shaved, showered and dressed in the homeowner's clothes at one residence, while making an elaborate meal at another home he broke in to. The robberies helped support his crack addiction.
In 2008, two women walking home from a pub in Banff accepted a ride from Bitternose, who was driving a stolen truck.
He admitted kidnapping both of them and taking them to a deserted parking lot. According to an agreed statement of facts, Bitternose told them he was a murderer and they would both die. He then punched and kicked them several times.
One woman managed to escape, but Bitternose sexually assaulted the other woman repeatedly, the court heard.