Mathew Sweet-Grant stared at the floor as a prosecutor argued for a lengthy jail term for pouring aftershave on his sleeping friend and lighting him on fire.
The 20-year-old will be sentenced today after pleading guilty to aggravated assault in the bizarre attack in his Kelowna home
Dec. 8. Sweet-Grant had a friend record him on a cellphone as he dropped Aqua Velva on Tyler Weir's hoodie and sparked a lighter to set his clothes ablaze.
In the 40-second video shown in court Monday, Sweet-Grant is seen twice pouring the flammable liquid onto Weir's back and shoulder as he sleeps on his side on the floor. When flames erupt on the fabric, Weir suddenly gets up on his knees, swears and arches his back.
The flames climb up his back and singe his hair before the video ends. Court heard he ran outside for a few minutes, returned to the ground-floor apartment and went back to sleep.
Hours later Weir walked home, slept some more and showed his burns to his mother. She took him to Kelowna General Hospital, where medical staff treated him for third- and second-degree burns on his back and buttocks. He spent 51 days in hospital and will need years of treatment, court heard.
In a statement, the 18-year-old said the pain is so bad some days, he cries and screams. He goes to a clinic every day for new bandages and can't expose his skin to the sun for at least two years. He has trouble bending, putting on his clothes and getting in and out of vehicles.
"It's more pain than any man should go through," he said. "I'm scarred for life . . . Mentally I'm not in a good place. I get frustrated easy because of the mobility (problems). I get sad, depressed . . . I don't enjoy many things."
Weir had passed out on the floor after a night of partying at Sweet-Grant's low-income home in Kelowna. Sweet-Grant said Weir had been taking food from the fridge, and he'd lit fires to other people's clothes for doing the same thing, said Crown counsel David Grabavac.
"Somebody shouldn't need to be told not to light someone on fire," he said. "There's a lack of understanding . . . about how dangerous fire is. He just doesn't seem to understand the consequences."
Sweet-Grant told police it was a dumb joke and he was sorry he caused so much pain and suffering. He accepts responsibility for the bizarre attack in the motel suite. He considers the victim his friend, and didn't mean to hurt him, his lawyer West Munson said Monday.
"He saw the pictures. He never imagined the amount of harm that would come," Munson said. "Mr. Weir has been his friend for two years. He realizes there needs to be consequences, but he doesn't want to stop being his friend."
Sweet-Grant learned about the stunt from TV programs. In previous lighting attempts, the victim or someone else would put out the flames before they caused damage, Munson said.
"He was extremely intoxicated . . . (The aftershave) soaked through the cloth. It hadn't happened before."
As a teen, Sweet-Grant lived on the street in Edmonton and was addicted to ecstasy before moving to Kelowna. He has two robbery convictions and breached numerous court orders, but has stayed out of trouble for four years, his lawyer said.
The Crown is seeking a prison term of six to eight years. Grabavac argued Sweet-Grant never helped Weir or called 911, he planned the attack and Weir was defenceless. Ten minutes later, he was showing the camera footage to his roommate.
Josh McWhirter, the man who allegedly filmed the encounter, is in custody on the same charge. His case is still before the courts.
Judge Anne Wallace gives her decision later today.