Montreal Gazette

Man who pretended to be Good Samaritan gets a year in prison


A man who pretended to offer his couch as a safe place for a young woman to sleep while she was very drunk and searching for her purse was sentenced Thursday to a one-year prison term for sexually assaulting her.

“That is the absolute lowest I can go — 12 months of incarcerat­ion,” Quebec Court Judge Salvatore Mascia said, alternatin­g between French and English as he sentenced Vincenzo Mirra, 59, at the Montreal courthouse. The prison term will be followed by two years of probation.

When he testified during the sentencing stage of the case, Mirra blamed the victim and called her a “temptress.” He also showed no remorse.

Mascia said the only mitigating factors in Mirra's case were that he has worked most of his adult life and that, in a pre-sentencing report, he was considered to be at a low risk of reoffendin­g.

The Crown asked that Mirra be sentenced to an 18-month prison term, while defence lawyer Clemente Monterosso requested a sentence that Mirra could serve in the community.

Mirra was placed in handcuffs and taken into custody after Mascia delivered the decision.

“The accused presented himself as a Good Samaritan and the Good Samaritan profited from the situation to abuse the woman,” Mascia said before he sentenced Mirra. “He exploited a woman who was vulnerable and unable to defend herself.”

On Sept. 21, 2016, the victim went out to two bars with friends. During Mirra's trial, she said she drank a lot of beer and downed several shots that night. After midnight, she got into a taxi and headed for home, but on the way there she realized she didn't have her purse with her. She could not pay for the taxi ride and the keys to her apartment were inside her purse.

She exited the taxi and was walking when she crossed paths with Mirra. He recognized her because she previously worked at a bar where he had been a regular. Her employer owned a restaurant where Mirra worked as a chef.

According to Mascia's decision to convict Mirra on Feb. 1, 2022, he told the woman he wanted to help her and offered to let her sleep on his couch. During the trial, the woman said her home wasn't far, but she accepted Mirra's offer because her keys were in her missing purse and she didn't want to wake up her landlord, a woman in her 80s, so late in the night.

Mirra testified that the woman turned down offers to return to the bars she went to so they could search for her purse. He said she also turned down money to take a taxi home.

The woman said she blacked out during most of the time spent at Mirra's home. She said she woke up to find Mirra on top of her while he tried to penetrate her.

Mirra claimed that he had consensual sex with the woman and that she initiated it.

“Even if I accept his version of the facts, some of its nuances, even if I accept that there was a relation right from the start and she woke up later, it is not better for the accused,” Mascia said, adding the woman was “severely intoxicate­d and unable to consent to a sexual act.”

The accused presented himself as a Good Samaritan and ... exploited a woman who was vulnerable and unable to defend herself.

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