October sentencing for ‘rat’-carving assailants

A pair of Kamloops men who tortured an associate as retribution for co-operating with police will not learn their fates until at least October.

Jeremy Bellows and Ricky Dennis, both 34, were found guilty in June of aggravated assault and witness intimidation.

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During the pair’s three-day trial, court heard Matt Carstairs was co-operative with police following a shooting in his apartment unit on Nov. 4, 2017.

In that instance, a gun was accidentally fired during a robbery attempt. The bullet went through the wall of the apartment suite and struck a man sleeping in an adjacent unit. He received minor injuries.

Court heard Carstairs handed police surveillance video depicting the incident. He also gave a statement to investigators and, earlier this year, testified at the trial of Bradley Hartling, who was ultimately convicted by a jury on a number of counts.

On Aug. 21, 2018, Bellows and Dennis, along with two other men, showed up at 414 Royal Ave., where Carstairs was then living with his girlfriend. Carstairs was told the group was there to give him a “mark of a rat” — retribution for Carstairs co-operation with police following the 2017 shooting.

Court heard Carstairs was beaten with a baton and then given three options for punishment: carving the word “rat” into his chest, burning the word into his skin or cutting off the fingers on one of his hands.

Carstairs chose to have the word carved into his flesh. He also had his face slashed, court heard, which he was told was another mark of a snitch. He was later taken by a friend to Royal Inland Hospital, where doctors used more than 100 stitches to close his wounds.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley said the attack was especially violent.

“They delivered a gruesome message by knife, baton and fist,” Dley said. “The assault on Mr. Carstairs was meant to deliver a clear message. … Mr. Carstairs was regarded as a rat or a snitch and was going to be marked as such.”

Dley found the pair not guilty on one count each of unlawful confinement, while a charge of break and enter against each was previously withdrawn by prosecutors. Bellows was also found not guilty of using an imitation firearm during the assault.

Bellows and Dennis remain in custody. A sentencing hearing is slated to take place in B.C. Supreme Court sometime during the last week of October.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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