Man admits using bear spray, hatchet during intended fistfight

Glen Whiffen
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Found guilty on charges including assault with a weapon

Michael John Rakai took bear spray and a hatchet to a fistfight.

Michael John Rakai sits in provincial court in St. John’s Thursday awaiting the continuation of his trial.

In provincial court in St. John’s Thursday, the 34-year-old testified in his own defence that he was fed up with the “bullshit” going on between him and William Jordan, and wanted to settle “this once and for all, one on one.”

“My intention was that it was going to be a fistfight,” he testified. “(If) they come at me with a weapon, I’m going to protect myself.”

At the end of the trial Thursday, Rakai — whom the court heard was nicknamed Hatchet — was found guilty by Judge David Orr on a number of charges in connection with an April 9 incident that took place about 11 p.m. on Merrymeeting Road in St. John’s, outside the house Jordan lived in with his girlfriend, Mary Ann Corbett.

Rakai was found guilty on charges of assault with a weapon in relation to Jordan and Corbett, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and damage to property. The Crown withdrew two other charges and one charge was stayed by Orr.

A sentencing hearing will be held March 10, which will allow time for a pre-sentence report requested by defence lawyer Scott Hurley. Meanwhile, Rakai remains free from custody on strict conditions.

In his ruling, Orr noted the accused admitted in his testimony he was carrying the weapons, he had bear-sprayed Jordan and he damaged the step to the house and broke a window with the hatchet. He also admitted he sprayed bear mace in the direction of Corbett.

Rakai’s defence of his actions was that it was self-defence.

Corbett had testified during the trial earlier this week that she was hit with bear spray while standing on the step, and then Rakai swung a hatchet at her as she raced inside the house to get away from him.

In the courtroom Thursday, Rakai stuck up his finger at reporters taking his photo or videotaping him, and cursed when leaving the courtroom, which resulted in a sheriff’s officer reminding him of a release condition to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Rakai was at times animated on the witness stand.

He described showing up on the street outside the house and yelling for Jordan to come out and fight.

“I said, ‘Come on. Let’s get this on,’” he said, as he raised his voice and opened his arms wide.

Rakai said he decided to arm himself with the bear spray and hatchet that night after he received a text from his friend, Stephanie Fifield, that said Jordan was looking for him and that he had a baseball bat.

“I had no intention of using my weapons,” he said in response to Crown prosecutor Shawn Patten. “I was provoked and I defended myself, end of f------ story.”

When asked why he didn’t call the police after he read the text, he said that, where he comes from — which he said was Regina, Saskatchewan — “they didn’t call police,” but took care of things themselves.

Rakai said when he and Jordan confronted each other on the street, Jordan swung the baseball bat at him and he ducked and bear sprayed Jordan in the face. He said Jordan then made another wild swing at him, and then he sprayed Jordan again.

“After I sprayed him the second time, I swung my hatchet,” said Rakai, noting the hatchet did not make contact with Jordan.

When Jordan testified earlier this week, he said that when he went outside to see what Rakai’s “problem was,” he saw Rakai had brass knuckles and, while the two were shouting at each other, he got sprayed in the face. He was hit with the spray in the face again and, barely able to see, followed Corbett’s voice to get back to the house, he said.

Once inside, he said, he wiped his eyes with his shirt and saw Rakai smash the front window.

Orr noted the charges were supported by the evidence. He said even if he was satisfied there may have been a bat present, any force used in self-defence has to be reasonable.

He called the discharging of bear spray and the swinging of a hatchet excessive force.

“Bill Jordan did get bear sprayed in the face on the night of April 9 in front of his residence,” Orr said.

Earlier in the trial, RNC Const. Jeremy Babstock told the court that when he arrived at the house that night, he saw the front door had orange bear mace on it, while the front patio had several marks on the railing. He said he could even smell the spray, which had a strong odour. Pieces of shattered glass were scattered underneath the front window, he said.

Babstock said both Corbett and Jordan were washing out their eyes with water when he got there.

He said they told officers the man responsible was Rakai, who had been their friend until recently.

When officers went to Rakai’s house, they saw written in black marker, “Hatchet’s House.” He wasn’t home, but was arrested the next day.

Organizations: RNC Const.

Geographic location: Rakai, Jordan, Hatchet Merrymeeting Road Saskatchewan

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Recent comments

  • Townie
    December 21, 2013 - 11:36

    What a douchebag, send him back up to Canada.

  • Guy Incognito
    December 21, 2013 - 10:26

    Remember that Simpsons episode where Milhouse moves to a new town and pretends to be a bad-ass?

  • Guy Incognito
    December 20, 2013 - 19:02

    What an unbelievable joke this guy is. Is he delayed or something? Gangsta wanksta. He looks like a grown up version of the white kid rapper/gangster wanna-be's. Fake bling and pants hanging around his bum.

  • Bob Cobb
    December 20, 2013 - 17:48

    This guy looks like a nerd.

  • david
    December 20, 2013 - 15:49

    You know, the more I see, the more I think that maybe there is actually something to this tale of Newfoundlanders not being of civilized European stock. Forget the money-grab angle......maybe we are uncivilized, genetic mongrels.

  • Matlock
    December 20, 2013 - 15:48

    Um, I'm pretty certain that exile to another province is not one of the myriad of sentencing tools available to our provincial court judges.

  • darrell
    December 20, 2013 - 13:36

    A complete waste of space. are so irrelevant and meaningless, just go away.

  • Patrick
    December 20, 2013 - 11:21

    "Yo, Yo, Yo homies, they call me hatchet back on the west sayeed of Regina. I's all about dressin' like a clown and acting like a tough guy. Never mind the fact that I look like the kid who ate the other kids lunches during elementary." What a clown, fine him and order him out of the province. What a total goofball.

  • Mark
    December 20, 2013 - 09:54

    A 34 year old dresses like a 16 year rapper wannabe from Mount Pearl. No jail sentence will sort this loser out. Put him in the stocks for a week and let the public berate him. PLEASE BRING BACK THE STOCKS!

  • SmithA
    December 20, 2013 - 09:00


  • JKB
    December 20, 2013 - 05:01

    Not sure why this guys isn't being remanded after being convicted on a criminal charge. Given his fondness of the media on television, he is a real upstanding citizen. When criminals think the justice system is a joke....what message are we sending to our youth and children...or for that matter, law abiding citizens. Send this guy back to Regina where he belongs!