Top News

Sentencing date set for fourth person charged in connection with 2019 assault on Yarmouth teenager

Yarmouth Justice Centre. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
Yarmouth Justice Centre. TINA COMEAU PHOTO - Tina Comeau
YARMOUTH, N.S. —

One year to the date of her arrest, a Yarmouth woman has entered a guilty plea to a charge of assault causing bodily harm stemming from the January 2019 assault against a Yarmouth teenager.

A trial had been scheduled in Yarmouth Provincial Court on Tuesday, Jan. 7 for Danesha Russell, who was facing counts of aggravated assault; assault with a weapon; unlawful confinement; conspiracy to commit an indictable offence; and uttering threats to cause bodily harm.

Her lawyer Oliver Janson informed the court that the trial would not be going ahead and instead a guilty plea to one charge would be entered. Following a discussion and agreement with the Crown, the defence took the charge of aggravated assault and instead pleaded guilty to the lesser, included offence of assault causing bodily harm.

Judge James Burrill accepted the guilty plea and ordered a pre-sentence report as requested by the defence. A sentencing date of March 12 was set. At that time the court will speak to the other charges.

The assault of the Yarmouth teenager – who was 17 years old at the time – occurred over the course of several hours on Jan. 4, 2019, after she was picked up in a vehicle and driven to several locations where she was beaten, tortured and confined. She was eventually able to escape and seek help. At the hospital her family members said she was barely recognizable due to her injuries. Five people were charged.

Russell, who was 19 at the time of her arrest, was not present in court when her lawyer entered the guilty plea. Her lawyer said she is residing at Holly House in Dartmouth, which is part of the services offered through the Elizabeth Fry Society. Because a co-accused that Russell is not supposed to have any contact with (Trey Rhyno) is also residing at that location, the defence asked the court to amend Russell’s court-ordered no-contact clause to allow for any incidental contact that may occur.

Three people have already been sentenced in this case. Trey Rhyno received a sentence of time served after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm and unlawful confinement. The time served was based on the amount of the time spent in custody between Rhyno’s January 2019 arrest and September 2019 sentencing.

Ashley Comeau, the driver of the vehicle, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy and was given an 18-month community-based conditional sentence. Jacqueline Elizabeth Angell – Rhyno’s grandmother – received a 12-month conditional sentence after pleading guilty to assault with a weapon. The sentences of Comeau and Angell were a joint recommendation by the Crown and defence. In Rhyno’s case the Crown had been seeking a jail sentence of 18 months but Judge Claudine MacDonald ruled it wouldn’t be fair to sentence Rhyno to a much harsher sentence than what two other co-accused had already received.

The fifth individual charged in connection with the assault is a youth offender who has a court appearance coming up later in January.

RELATED: FROM NOVEMBER 2019: Yarmouth family of teenager who was assaulted feels let down by the justice system

Recent Stories