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Matthew McKnight walks out of court during a break in Edmonton on July 8, 2020. McKnight's original sentence for sexually assaulting 13 women ranging in age from 17 to 22 between 2010 and 2016 was increased from eight years to 11 by the Alberta Court of Appeal.JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Edmonton serial rapist Matthew McKnight has had three years added to his prison term, after the Alberta Court of Appeal concluded his eight-year sentence was “lenient to the point of undermining public confidence in the administration of justice.”

“There was a predatory aspect to the assaults, because the respondent invited the young complainants into his home for an evening of socializing, took advantage of their vulnerability, and subjected them to major violations of their personal integrity,” reads the 14-page decision by Justice Frans Slatter, Justice Kevin Feehan and Justice Anne Kirker. ”The gravity of these offences was high, as was the moral culpability of the respondent.”

The court increased Mr. McKnight’s sentence to 11 years in prison from eight.

The decision brings to an end Mr. McKnight’s criminal court proceedings, which have been continuing since 2016, when the prominent popular bar promoter was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault against young women he met through the Edmonton club scene.

He went to trial in the fall of 2019 on 13 counts of sexual assault, and was convicted by a jury in early 2020 of five charges. The trial lasted four months, one of the longest sexual assault trials in Canadian history.

Court of King’s Bench Justice Doreen Sulyma sentenced Mr. McKnight in the summer of 2020 to 16½ years in prison, but cut the term almost in half on the grounds “a sentence of 16.5 years simply exceeds what would be just and appropriate in light of the overall culpability of this offender.”

She reduced the sentence by one year for an assault Mr. McKnight suffered on remand, and the rest because of a combination of his strict bail conditions, her perception of Mr. McKnight’s “excellent” potential for rehabilitation, and the totality principle, which says an offender should not face an unreasonably lengthy term for multiple offences. The sentence caused an uproar in the courtroom.

The defence appealed the convictions alleging the prosecutor’s treatment of Mr. McKnight during the trial was abusive and unfair, and that some evidence shouldn’t have been admitted.

That appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal and then by the Supreme Court, allowing the Crown’s sentence appeal to proceed.

At those proceedings in February, Alberta Justice and Solicitor-General lawyer Matthew Griener argued for a sentence of 15 years, while Peter Sankoff, appearing for Mr. McKnight, maintained the term should remain untouched.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal found the sentence imposed by Justice Sulyma didn’t adequately demonstrate denunciation as a principle of sentencing or reflect the “gravity of the offences and the moral culpability” of Mr. McKnight.

The court noted Mr. McKnight was convicted of major sexual assaults against five women over six years, and that “there was clearly a pattern involved.” The court said four of the five assaults occurred after the consumption of significant amounts of alcohol, in some cases provided by Mr. McKnight.

Mr. McKnight has served about 2½ years in custody. Federal offenders are typically eligible for parole at one-third of their sentence.