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Canada ‘The actions of a coward’: Winnipeg lawyer seriously injured by letter bomb speaks at sentencing hearing

A lawyer who was seriously injured when she opened a letter bomb in her office says the man who sent it to her is a coward who has left her with permanent scars and a long recovery.

Maria Mitousis did not appear to look at Guido Amsel, convicted of sending bombs to Mitousis and two others, as she delivered her victim impact statement Wednesday at Amsel’s sentencing hearing.

Amsel, 52, remained seated in the prisoner’s box behind Mitousis as she talked about the explosion that cost her her right hand.

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“I’ve concluded that his ... plan to cause pain, fear and chaos are the actions of a coward,” Mitousis said.

“I wear the scars of the explosion on my face and on my body.”

The scars, she said, are a reminder of the cruelty humans can inflict on each other. She said she still feels the sensation of the fingers she lost in the 2015 explosion and remains deeply affected by the sight of the end of her arm, where her hand once was.

“It shocks me each time I see it.”

Amsel was convicted earlier this year on four charges of attempted murder and several other offences. Court was told he sent letter bombs simultaneously in the summer of 2015 to his ex-wife, Iris, and two Winnipeg lawyers who had represented her.

The bomb that injured Mitousis was placed in a recording device. A note attached to it said to press the enter button, which set off the explosion.

Crown attorney Chris Vanderhooft argued Wednesday that Amsel should be given a life sentence with no parole eligibility for 10 years for the bombs he sent in 2015.

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Vanderhooft suggested Amsel should also get an additional 15-year sentence – to be served consecutively – for a bomb that was left outside Iris Amsel’s home in 2013. That explosive went off but did not injure anyone.

Defence lawyer Andrew Synyshyn asked for a sentence of between 20 and 25 years. Synyshyn said Amsel has no previous criminal record, has a history of employment and is a father of two children.

“This is someone who is established in the community,” he said.

Vanderhooft called Amsel’s decision to send three letter bombs at the same time in 2015 “a despicable act of indiscriminate terrorism.”

He said Mitousis, by opening the package and inadvertently setting off the bomb, caused police to intercept the two other devices that Amsel had sent that week.

“Ms. Mitousis ... saved others from a similar fate,” Vanderhooft said.

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Amsel testified during his trial that he was being set up by his ex-wife and others, and that evidence had been planted.

Vanderhooft told the hearing Amsel has still not accepted responsibility for his actions, and recently emailed Manitoba’s attorney general, alleging that even the judge hearing the case was out to get him.

“He continues on with these type of conspiracy theories,” Vanderhooft told provincial court Judge Tracey Lord.

“He blames his lawyers. He blames the Crown. He blames Your Honour.”

Lord reserved her decision until Nov. 22. Amsel did not address the court.

Mitousis said she plans to move on with her life, continue her return to work and put Amsel behind her.

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“After this is over, I will forget him and he will disappear from my consciousness.”

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