A Sarnia meth dealer involved in the vicious beating of a handcuffed competitor was jailed for five years Tuesday,
Mary Alice Muscat, 46, pleaded guilty in Sarnia Superior Court to the April 2013 charges of possession of stimulant methamphetamine for trafficking and aggravated assault as a jury trial was set to begin.
Methamphetamine dealing was Muscat’s jealously guarded “despicable” business, said Superior Court Justice Russell Raikes.
Court was told that in April 2013 a man who moved to Sarnia to sell methamphetamine went to Muscat’s home for a meeting.
The two dealers had agreed on selling prices, but Muscat was concerned the man was cutting into her business by selling at a lower price.
Muscat hit the 43-year-old man as he walked into her basement and handcuffed him to a chair where he was beaten for nearly two hours. Two men were present.
The trio demanded to know if the man was a police officer while being hit on the head with a hammer, stabbed in the abdomen twice, and hit with a leather-covered weapon. Blood from that weapon matched the victim’s DNA.
The victim was in a medically-induced coma for eight days due to the life-threatening injuries.
If the victim had been a police officer, it boggles his mind as to what Muscat would have done, said Raikes.
During the victim’s testimony at a preliminary hearing he said he underwent psychiatric treatment due to the stress.
The man responsible for the stabbing and hammer hits, 30-year-old Daniel Mitchell, committed suicide while in custody shortly after his arrest on attempted murder charges.
After two hours Muscat called the victim’s friend to collect him. The victim was still in handcuffs when he left her home.
The victim was terrified to report the incident to police or to go to the hospital. He was eventually taken by friends, who cut off the handcuffs with a saw while on the way to hospital.
Sarnia police became involved when they learned of the victim’s injuries. The investigation led to a search of Muscat’s home. Traces of the victim’s blood were found on the wall and ceiling of the basement, although attempts had been made to clean the scene with bleach.
During the search police found 56 grams of methamphetamine, scales, two debt lists, six cell phones and approximately $7,000 in cash.
A joint sentencing submission by Crown and defense lawyers sought a five-year sentence for Muscat, including the equivalent of 44 months of pre-sentence custody.
Raikes said he was troubled by the joint submission, but it was presented by three experienced counsel.
The sentence would leave Muscat with approximately 16 months to serve.
Federal prosecutor Michael Robb and assistant Crown attorney Krista Leszczynski said the sentence was appropriate given Muscat’s pleas and a 13-year gap in her criminal record.
The victim was not a stranger to the criminal justice system and there would be significant issues for the Crown if the case had gone to trial, said defense lawyer Sharon Murphy.
The victim pleaded guilty in August to possession of methamphetamine for trafficking and for court-order violations, resulting in an 18-month jail sentence.
In accepting the joint submission Raikes said the three lawyers were privy to the frailties of the case.
Ontario’s appeal court has stated that joint submissions are proper and necessary to the administration of justice and only rejected if the joint submission is contrary to the public interest or would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The appeal court has also stated there must be a high degree of confidence by the accused, who has given up the right to a trial, that a joint submission will be respected.
In addition to the jail time, a lifetime weapons’ ban was imposed on Muscat and she must give police a DNA sample.
Forfeiture of the cash seized from her home was also ordered.
Charges against the third person arrested following the beating, 56-year-old Steven Kelly, were withdrawn Tuesday, but he was ordered to stay away from the victim for the next year.