Dustin Paxton guilty of aggravated and sexual assault

Dustin Paxton has been found guilty in a Calgary courtroom of aggravated and sexual assault against his former business partner and roommate, but not of unlawful confinement.

Calgary judge says Paxton treated former roommate as servant and 'whipping post'

A Calgary courtroom was packed throughout the day as Justice Sheilah Martin handed down her ruling. (Sharon Sargent)

Dustin Paxton has been found guilty in a Calgary courtroom of aggravated and sexual assault against his former business partner and roommate, who was dropped off at a Regina hospital almost two years ago, disfigured and emaciated.

But Justice Sheilah Martin found Paxton not guilty of unlawful confinement. His date for sentencing will be set on Feb. 17.

The judge convicted Paxton on four "pillars" of evidence: medical reports, the victim's testimony, Paxton's interview with police and testimony from more than 40 witnesses. 

Martin said Monday there was overwhelming evidence that Paxton treated the man, who cannot be identified under a publication ban, as his personal servant and "whipping post."

Dustin Paxton's victim was dropped off at a Regina hospital severely injured and weighing less than 100 pounds. (CBC)

Martin said the man was repeatedly assaulted by Paxton in Calgary and Regina — which the man's family said amounted to torture — and the list of injuries was lengthy and grotesque. One attack in the fall of 2009 with a metre-long piece of two-by-four lumber left him with several broken ribs and perforated bowels, the man testified.

Paxton's victim was dropped off at a Regina hospital in April 2010 weighing 87 pounds, suffering from numerous broken bones and a mutilated face.

While discussing the unlawful confinement charge against Paxton, Martin said she accepts that Paxton's abuse included economic manipulation — often a factor in forcible confinement — but pointed out that legally, there is a difference between confinement and domination.

Martin said while there were no witnesses or medical evidence that could corroborate sexual assault, she believed the victim's testimony that he did not consent to the sexual acts.

She said Paxton consistently assumed, pressured and pushed for sex acts and the victim did anything to avoid being beaten on a daily basis. The victim said he didn't leave because he didn't want to be seen as a "sissy."

Guilty on other charges

Paxton was also found guilty of assault with a weapon and uttering threats against his former roommate Abraham Chutta.

Chutta alleged Paxton beat him with a dog leash and baton.

"Reasons would get smaller, the arguments would get bigger," Chutta testified. "The slaps started turning into punches."

In total, 32-year-old Paxton faced five charges from two victims that were former roommates.

Earlier, the judge started walking the court through her lengthy judgment by talking about Paxton's background — like how he was put into social services care at age 12 by his father.

Stay denied

Martin denied the application to have the proceedings against Paxton stayed Monday.

As the nine-week trial wrapped up on Dec. 2, 2011, the defence team asked the judge for a stay of proceedings, arguing that Paxton did not get a fair trial.

Dustin Paxton has been found guilty of aggravated assault against his former roommate and business partner. (Courtesy Sharon Sargent )

The defence claimed Paxton's charter rights were violated because of allegedly late disclosure of evidence and the handling of Crown witness Robert Cannon, but the judge disagreed. Martin also said it is "regrettable" that the allegations of Cannon being coached when he took the witness box were not brought to the attention of the court at the time, but in a stay of proceedings application after the trial wrapped.

Martin said she would not give any weight to Cannon's controversial testimony.

"In short, Mr. Paxton did receive a fair trial," said Martin.

Trevor Daroux, Calgary's deputy police chief, said late Monday that the reputations of detectives were thrown into question by Paxton's lawyers throughout the trial.  "I'm pleased that Justice Martin, after receiving the evidence put before her, found our officers to be professional, skillful and there to support the witnesses and the court processes — nothing more." 


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Martin also ruled Monday that the DVD of Paxton being interrogated by police after his arrest will be released to the media.

Lawyers for CBC News applied for access to the DVD, which shows Paxton being interviewed for hours in Edmonton, where he was arrested, by detectives from Calgary in August 2010.

The trial was supposed to run for five weeks, but ended up lasting more than four months.

With files from The Canadian Press