Former Roughrider Nkeyasen sentenced to two years in prison

Heather Polischuk
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Former Saskatchewan Roughrider Kennedy Kwame Nkeyasen was taken from a Regina courtroom in handcuffs Tuesday, having received a jail sentence for a violent 2009 home invasion.The 35-year-old previously pleaded guilty to one charge of break and enter and commit assault causing bodily harm - Nkeyasen's first and only criminal offence. The charge was laid in relation to an Oct. 27, 2009, incident in which Nkeyasen kicked in an apartment door and assaulted his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.

Regina Court of Queen's Bench Justice Frank Gerein heard sentencing arguments at the end of May and wanted some time to consider what sentence to impose. Crown prosecutor Will Collins had been asking for a federal term of incarceration - over two years and likely closer to four in keeping with existing case law - while defence lawyer Foster Weisgerber had been hoping for a suspended sentence that would enable Nkeyasen to stay out of custody.

On Tuesday, Gerein said he didn't agree with either suggestion, instead effectively splitting the difference with the maximum provincial jail term of two years less a day.

In handing down that sentence, Gerein said the offence was "very serious" as it involved both a home invasion and subsequent violence - meaning jail was required.

"People expect to be safe in their homes," he said. "Too often, this expectation is not realized."

But Gerein decided against a lengthier term in large part due to Nkeyasen's lack of criminal record, his noted involvement in the community - including work with youth and immigrants - and the fact this crime was "out of character" for Nkeyasen, even according to a written statement from his ex-girlfriend.

During sentencing, Gerein went back over the facts of the incident, which happened several weeks after Nkeyasen's on-and-off-again girlfriend of seven years broke up with him. On the morning of Oct. 27, 2009, she showed up at his house to speak with him.

When she returned to her apartment building on the 3100 block of Victoria Avenue minutes later, Nkeyasen was already standing outside.

The woman went inside where her new boyfriend was having a shower but, several minutes later, Nkeyasen kicked the apartment unit's door in and attacked the other male who was then clad only in a towel. The man was punched repeatedly, including several times in the face, causing a swollen-shut black eye, bruising and scrapes. A neighbour intervened and Nkeyasen left.

"There was no explanation offered for the accused's conduct," Gerein said. "From the circumstances, I draw the inference that he experienced rejection, jealousy and resentment, all of which led to anger, causing him to act as he did."

The judge noted that Nkeyasen comes from a good and close family and that he's been both a successful athlete and an otherwise-upstanding citizen. Gerein added that Nkeyasen, at his appearance in May, expressed remorse for his behaviour.

Neither Collins nor Weisgerber was certain whether they would appeal the sentence.

Organizations: Regina Court, Queen's

Geographic location: Victoria Avenue

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