Matthew Paul King expressed his remorse the best way he knew how for brutally beating a teenager.
In an unusual move at provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday, King performed a rap when he testified at his sentencing hearing.
Entitled “Forgiveness,” it was a piece King said he wrote in preparation for the hearing.
“This called a formal apology,” King rapped, moving his hands to the beat, as he stood in the prisoner’s dock in provincial court in St. John’s.
“Let the past be the past. Focus on tomorrow, please. Accept this as a sorry. I’m tryin’ to be a better man.”
King is a former member of a rap group called Lakeside, which has their work posted on YouTube. King said he was in negotiations with a Toronto music company about a contract when the charges were laid.
The 22-year-old pleaded guilty to five charges — hit and run, failing the breathalyzer and breach of probation, which stem from a July 20 incident; and assault causing bodily harm and breach of probation from an Aug. 4 incident.
On July 20, King was drunk when he drove a car that struck another vehicle on Hamlyn Road. He took off before police arrived. Officers eventually tracked him down. He was released shortly after his arrest.
A few weeks later, on Aug. 4, King was again drunk when he viciously attacked a 5-foot-8, 105-lb. 16-year-old boy. It happened behind Peter’s Pizza on Hamlyn Road, where a group had gathered.
After the assault — during which King punched the boy and kicked him while he lay on the ground — King got in a cab with a friend and left.
When police got there, the teen was motionness on the ground. He was rushed to hospital.
The RNC issued an advisory to the public, seeking help in finding King.
The driver of the cab that King took that night told officers he heard King and the other man talking about the assault, saying how the teenager was “in bad shape.”
The teenager suffered serious injuries, including a fractured skull, broken nose, broken cheek bones and swelling on the brain.
He was semi-conscious for a portion of his three-week stay in hospital.
King was originally charged with aggravated assault, but Crown prosecutor William Cadigan agreed to replace that with the lesser charge of assault causing bodily harm. That was after a doctor indicated that the teen’s injuries were not so serious to warrant such a charge, since they were not life-threatening.
However, the boy’s mother would disagree.
When she took the stand, she told the court that her son still suffers the effects of the beating.
She said her son has a problem with memory and has vision problems. He also can’t smell, has lost all sense of time and becomes agitated and frustrated easily.
“He has good days and bad days,” she said. “There are days when I just break down and cry.”
She said it’s been a difficult time for the family, “and it’s going to be a long road.”
During his testimony, King apologized to the family and blamed it on his problem with alcohol.
He said he had consumed two cases of beer the night he assaulted the teenager.
“I definitely have a severe alcohol problem. … I just black out,” King said. “I’m very sorry. It shouldn’t have happened.”
King said it was a case of mistaken identity.
“I got into a fight with the wrong person. I thought (he) was someone else,” he said.
“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Cadigan and legal aid duty counsel Jane Fitzpatrick will present their recommendations on sentencing on Tuesday.
Fitzpatrick requested permission of Judge Greg Brown to play a CD, containing King’s rap music, at the next court appearance.
Cadigan objected, saying it had nothing to do with the case. Fitzpatrick said it bodes to King’s future prospects.
Brown will make his decision on that, as well as sentencing, at that time.
The text of Matthew King's rap
Another day goes by
And all the answers
to my questions
All become a lie.
Why do I do this to myself?
Should of had
some common sense.
But the knowledge comes the fence
Between me tryin’ to make amends.
This called a formal apology
Let the past be the past.
Focus on tomorrow please
Accept this as a sorry,
I’m tryin’ to be a better man
But my appearance
tends to worry some
And I can’t make it right.
Time heals all wounds they say
that man shouldn’t fight.
The bible say God forgives us
of our sins.
May Him strike me dead
next time I wanna throw a fist
Heads low only feelin’ remorse so take the verse I wrote resourceful.
God help this felon’s scored soul.
This is a corrected version.