Ottawa

Ottawa Mountie on trial admits to burning, handcuffing son

An Ottawa Mountie on trial for the severe abuse of his 11-year-old son admitted he burnt, hit and near starved the boy while he handcuffed him to a pole in the family basement.

WARNING: This story contains graphic and disturbing details

An Ottawa Mountie (left) and the victim's stepmother (right) were charged in February 2013 with aggravated assault, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life in what investigators called "the worst case of abuse" they'd seen. (Courtroom sketches by Sarah Wallace)

An Ottawa Mountie on trial for the severe abuse of his 11-year-old son admitted he burnt, hit and near starved the boy while he handcuffed him to a pole in the family basement, saying "I felt the devil lived in him."

The 44-year-old man and the stepmother of the boy were charged in 2013 in what police described at the time as the "worst case of abuse police had ever seen."

The couple, who pleaded not guilty, were charged with aggravated assault, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life.

The woman is also charged with assault with a weapon, while the man is also charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.

In order to protect the identity of the boy the names of his parents can't be used.

'I hit him, but before hitting him I burned him'

In testimony Tuesday, the father said his son constantly refused to do his homework after he came to live with the man and his family in 2009.

He described his son as volatile and defiant and feared his son would stab him to death.

So in January 2013, a month before his arrest, the father said he couldn't cope anymore so he handcuffed his son to a pole in the basement.  At other times he used chains to restrain him.

"I hit him, but before hitting him I burned him" said the man.

His lawyer, Robert Carew, asked him if he realized he was hurting the boy.

"Absolutely not," the man answered. "For me, (the child) was morally wrong."

The man said at the time he beat his son he was experiencing flashbacks to the men he claims sexually assaulted him as a young boy in Lebanon.

Boy left in basement for days at a time

He said his son came to personify those who attacked him.

"I had the enemy in front of me" said the man. "I was getting raped all over again."

The man said he first handcuffed his son for 15 minutes — but on two other occasions he left him restrained in the basement for two days at a time.

Last September the boy, who is now 14 years old, testified that the father restrained him in the basement with handcuffs, threaten him with a revolver and use a cross to "get demons out" of the boy.

"I was scared to death," the boy said and added he would alert his father when the restraints weren't tight enough because he feared punishment if the restraints were loose.

Father disputes claim of 3 years of abuse 

In court today, defence counsel reminded the man his son testified that the abuse happened over a three-year period to which he replied "that is not true."

His lawyer questioned him about what his state of mind was when he was hitting his son.

He replied "it was all about me — I felt numb and had nightmares," adding it didn't matter how hurt or apologetic his son was. He just "wanted to make it stop."

Appearing emotional at times, the man said other people don't know what it's like to relive trauma like he went through and what he did to his son was "like a defence mechanism."

Wife wasn't in basement for beatings, father says 

When asked what role his wife played in the abuse the man said she was never present in the basement for the beatings and he added he never asked her to hit their son.

In an Ottawa police video-taped interview made after he was arrested and shown in court last November, the man admitted he hit his son saying, "I screwed up."

The boy developed scabs on his wrists due to the chains or plastic zip ties used to confine him in the basement, the father said.

Last fall the court was also shown a cell phone video from 2013 of the boy naked, crying and restrained in the basement of his family's home.

The Mountie ended the testimony saying he has been diagnosed with severe PTSD, chronic depression and dissociative personality disorder as a result of the sexual assaults he endured when he was eight years old.

Crown prosecutors are scheduled to cross-examine the man on Wednesday.

The trial is set to conclude at the end of next week.