A St. John’s man found guilty of dousing of a couple with bear mace is now a wanted man.
A provincial court judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Michael John Rakai Monday morning after the 34-year-old failed to show up for his sentencing hearing.
Rakai had been convicted following his trial in December 2013 of several charges, including assault with a weapon, possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, uttering threats and mischief by damaging property.
Michael John Rakai, shown here during his trial in December 2013, didn’t show up for his sentencing hearing Monday morning at provincial court in St. John’s.
— Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
The charges were laid as a result of an incident that happened April 8, 2013, when Rakai was found to have doused
a couple with bear mace and a hatchet outside the woman’s home on Merrymeeting Road in the centre of the city.
Rakai had been arrested shortly after the incident, but was freed from jail on strict conditions when he initially appeared in court.
During the trial, Rakai claimed he used the bear mace as a means of defending himself, but Judge David Orr found Rakai used excessive force.
On Monday, Crown prosecutor Shawn Patten and defence lawyer Scott Hurley were supposed to present their recommendations on sentencing.
Instead, with Rakai a no-show, Hurley requested permission to be taken off the case. He told the judge that Rakai didn’t participate in his pre-sentence report interview and that it’s believed he has fled the area.
Judge Mike Madden granted Hurley’s request.
If and when police find Rakai — who is known in local circles as Hatchet — he will likely face further charges relating to his failure to show up for court.