It was in a desperate attempt to lower his testosterone levels, and ultimately reduce his prison sentence, that Jody Matthew Burke attempted to remove his testicles in prison this week. His gesture did not faze Judge Jean-Jacques Gagné, who declared him a dangerous offender and sentenced to 15 years in prison after a trial that spanned six years.

Burke, a repeat offender convicted of sexual assault and extreme violence against his ex-spouse Brigitte Jobin, appeared by videoconference from the Montreal Detention Center (Bordeaux). He underwent urgent removal of his genitals on Tuesday, following acts of self-harm he inflicted on himself the day before his sentencing.

His lawyer, Me Véronique Talbot, a few moments before the sentencing, specified that Burke made this gesture to reduce his level of testosterone, an important element in assessing the risk of recidivism of an offender and to attach him the dangerous offender label. Burke also wanted to report that he “felt discriminated against” because the Montreal Detention Center refused to send him to a women’s prison.

Judge Gagné refused to reopen the evidence.

“Mr. Burke [was] ready to do anything to reduce his sentence,” commented Crown attorney Jasmine Leduc, who viewed this unusual twist as an attempt to drag out the trial.

The sentence is above the usual range for the type of crimes committed by Burke, Judge Gagné acknowledged. “I am aware that she is stern and tough.” The label of dangerous offender is reserved for a minority of criminals who pose a serious danger to society and who have little chance of rehabilitation.

The magistrate said he was “unable to identify any mitigating factors” in Burke’s history, in his clinical and psychological profile, and even in his intention to change sex.

“Let me be crystal clear: Matthew Burke is a master manipulator,” he said. “His plan to change sex is an issue for Correctional Services, and for which I have no expertise,” he added.

Burke had hidden everything from Ms. Jobin about his two previous prison sentences for domestic violence and very similar sexual assaults. He exercised “almost absolute control” over her and caused her significant bodily and psychological harm. “My role is to protect society and protect women,” the magistrate stressed.

Ms. Jobin, very moved when the judge pronounced the words “dangerous offender”, said she was satisfied with the judgment. “It’s a relief, and beyond my expectations,” she said.

“It was time for a judge to say ‘enough’, after three repeat offences. Sentences are often too lenient, and in many cases it leads to femicide afterwards,” Ms. Jobin commented.

“The shame should be on the side of the abusers, not the victims,” ​​she added.

Justice Gagné noted Ms. Jobin’s strength of character in her judgment. “Ms. Jobin’s comments showed some restraint. One cannot but underline his patience, his resilience, his courage and, above all, his moderation,” he wrote.