Man to find out his jail time for bear spray incident

Josh Pennell
Published on July 18, 2014
Michael Rakai

On Monday, Michael Rakai will find out how much time he will spend in jail for spraying a man and a woman with bear spray.

Rakai, 35, sat motionless in provincial court while the Crown and defense spoke to Judge David Orr about a possible sentence for Rakai. In December, he was found guilty of two counts of assault with bear spray, damaging property and possessing dangerous weapons.

He was charged after an incident on Merrymeeting Road on April 9, 2013.

Rakai — also known as “Hatchet” — sprayed Mace and swung a hatchet at a couple in the street and then smashed a window at the couple’s house. He claimed at the time it was to defend himself because the man was after him and was also swinging a bat at him.

Rakai was scheduled to be sentenced in March, but didn’t show up at court. He was picked up by police in Bonne Bay and brought back to St. John’s.

During Friday’s sentencing hearing, the defense said Rakai was originally from Saskatchewan and had been in this province for about five years. He and his girlfriend had moved to the Bonne Bay area to try and straighten his life out following the trial. He has been working at a fish plant in the area.

Rakai has two children in Saskatchewan and one here, and his girlfriend is about to have another child.

The defence said Rakai is bipolar and prior to the incident his last two remaining family members besides his own children — his mother and brother — were killed in a car accident. It was that incident that set his behaviour off, the defense argued.

Rakai hasn’t been in a lot trouble since he moved to this province. He was found to be in possession of a weapon back in 1998, but the only trouble he’s been in since then has been a trespassing fine and a fraud-related charge for being in possession of a cheque.

On Friday, when the judge asked if he wanted to address the court, Rakai, practically inaudibly, shook his head slightly and said no. As he was leaving court, though, he did have a few words to share.

“Revenge is sweet. Just remember,” he said.

It was unclear if he was speaking to the court or to the media in the room.

Rakai will be getting federal time for his offences. Judge Orr will decide how much on Monday.