Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Woman pleads guilty to aggravated assault in smashing broken beer bottle across victim's face

A Winnipeg woman admitted Monday to using a broken beer bottle to permanently disfigure another female patron inside a suburban city bar.

Jordana Koutecki, 23, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for the violent October 2006 attack. She was given credit for seven months of time already spent in custody and ordered to serve another six-and-a-half months behind bars under a joint-recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers.
Koutecki already had several previous criminal convictions when she targeted the victim inside Pharaoh's nightclub at the Canad Inns Windsor Park, court was told. She believed the woman had previously assaulted one of her friends and was seeking revenge.
Koutecki smashed the victim across the face with a beer bottle, breaking it. She then used the jagged end to hit the woman a second time, causing a 10-centimetre long cut on her cheek that required 20 stitches and left a large noticeable scar.
The victim also suffered a cut above one of her eyes which caused some nerve damage.
Koutecki fled the bar but went to another club that night, bragging to a friend how she’d "gotten that b*tch," court was told.

This article focuses way too much time talking about the victim and not enough about the offender's previous convictions, background life and mitigating factors.

UPDATE: I was informed of the specific previous convictions that this woman had; uttering threats, theft under $5000, possession of goods obtained by crime x 4, dangerous driving and breaching court orders x 4. She also had an "unremarkable" background and there was no mention in court of any mitigating or contributing life factors leading to this crime.

Beer bottle attacker jailed
A Winnipeg woman who disfigured another woman with a broken beer bottle has been sentenced to 21 months in jail.
Jordana Koutecki, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault.
Court heard she was at Pharoah’s nightclub on March 9, 2006, when the victim — a woman Koutecki claimed had assaulted one of her friends — threw a glass at her head. Koutecki hit the woman in the head with a beer bottle, breaking it, and then hit her a second time with the jagged end of the bottle.
The victim has been left visibly scarred and suffered minor nerve damage to her eye, said Crown attorney Scott Cooper.
Justice Colleen Suche credited Koutecki the double-time equivalent of 14 1/2 months time served, reducing her remaining sentence to 6 1/2 months.

Just because this woman has previous convictions, does not mean anything. Just because we know she has previous convictions, does not necessarily mean she is any more dangerous or somehow deserves more punishment.  All of her previous convictions are unrelated to her current offence.

I don't agree with incarceration in this case. I would have sentenced her to a conditional sentence or probation because she has already served 7 months in remand custody which I feel is enough, along with anger management programs, and victim-offender mediation so she could understand the consequences of her actions and how the victim was affected, if of course the victim agreed to it. "Short stints" of incarceration have been proven to be ineffective in the majority of cases. I believe that we need to address the underlying root causes of crime and deal with those as opposed to the quick fix of punishment, which will not help this woman in the long run and which is not a long term solution.

Since this incident occurred at a bar, I am guessing that alcohol was likely involved, which would be a mitigating factor. When people are impaired, they overreact and are unpredictable. Perhaps substance abuse counseling could also be beneficial to this woman. 

Many will say that this type of sentence does not provide justice for the victim. But currently, our justice system which is based on punishment and retributive justice, is quite frankly, not going to sentence offenders to a term which emotional victims feel is appropriate. The only system where victims and offenders are both involved in the process, is that of restorative justice. Victim offender mediation has been proven very effective and satisfying for victims especially as they CAN be involved and they can express their feelings towards the offender and learn why the offender committed this crime against them. Victims have expressed in studies that they felt more at peace after participating in mediation than simply by incarcerating the offender.

Here is a chart I made of the mitigating and aggravating circumstances: 

Mitigating Factors
Aggravating Factors
Young (age 23)
Previous criminal record (uttering threats, dangerous driving, possession of goods obtained by crime, breach of court orders, theft under $5000)
Pleaded guilty
Violence, charge of aggravated assault
Likely triggered by alcohol; impaired judgment and unpredictable nature
Believed the victim assaulted a friend; seeking revenge
Already served 7 mos. in remand custody


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