ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A Newfoundland cab driver convicted of sexually assaulting two female passengers should serve two to three years in prison, a Crown prosecutor argued Wednesday.Dana Sullivan said Lulzim Jakupaj violated a position of trust and should also be registered as a sex offender for life.“All sexual assaults are violent,” she said in provincial Supreme Court in St. John’s.“If we cannot trust taxi drivers in our community then who can we trust?”Taxi passengers are vulnerable — especially when they get in a cab at night or after they’ve had a few drinks, Sullivan told Justice Rosalie McGrath during sentencing arguments.Jakupaj was convicted in January for separate incidents in March 2016 involving two young women who had been drinking in St. John’s when they got in his cab.He was convicted of forcibly kissing both women, and groping the second victim as he put his arm across her throat and tried to pull her pants down.Sullivan noted that Jakupaj is already serving what’s left of a four-year sentence for a home invasion break-and-enter in May 2016, two months after the sexual assaults. In that incident, he had followed another female passenger into a home where she was staying.Defence lawyer Amanda Summers said her client, now 34, should serve six to 20 months for the sexual assaults. Jakupaj had a “horrible” upbringing during the war in Kosovo where he served as a child soldier for three years before emigrating to Canada in 2007.Jakupaj sat with his head bowed before proceedings began but stood to speak to the court when given the chance.“I truly feel sorry for those girls, whatever they’ve gone through,” he said. After 17 months at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s, Jakupaj said he is not being offered programs because he’s considered a low-risk offender.Still, he said he has been working hard at various jobs inside.“This is my first time in jail and it will be the last, I promise,” he told the judge. “I’ve learned my lessons.”McGrath reserved her decision until April 25.
Becoming an actor on a popular new Canadian TV show or a stunt double on a Fall Out Boy music video was not at all on Simu Liu’s radar when he was working as an accountant in Toronto. Until he was laid off – and his world opened up.“I remember feeling oddly free in that moment. I was without a job, but I thought I can do whatever I want. This is my one chance to really just try something. I owe it to myself to really give it a shot,” said Liu, HBA’11.This past year, Liu’s acting career has gained momentum, with the success of his roles on CBC’s Kim’s Convenience and NBC’s Taken. Despite his respect for Toronto’s strong film industry, his ultimate goal is to move to Hollywood. On a recent trip there, he met with agents and casting directors in L.A., including doctor-turned actor Ken Jeong (best known for his role in The Hangover) about a possible buddy cop movie that Liu hopes to write. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Twitter “I started talking to him (Jeong) on Twitter. When I got to L.A., he said come by the set and we can hang out more. So I ended up spending a lot of time with him. His advice was that you can’t wait. I joked that we should do a buddy cop movie for both of us and he said, ‘If you write it, I’ll be in it,” Liu said.While there is no formal training to show actors how to network, Liu credits his networking and soft skills courses at Ivey Business School with giving him the tools he needed to push forward in his career and not be afraid to reach out.“The hard part is to think of it (your career) as a start-up and think of yourself as an entrepreneur rather than an artist that waits for the phone to ring for opportunities,” he said.“I spent so many years struggling as an actor. Then suddenly, I’m in demand. The only thing actors want to do is work. It was amazing – tiring, brutal and amazing,” he said of his recent schedule shooting two television shows at once.In a long list of acting credentials Liu also includes stunt man, writer, director and producer – all skills that round out his already full resume.Following his layoff from his accounting firm, Liu started out by looking at TV and film opportunities on Craigslist. In amongst some of the more unsavory ads was a posting for the movie Pacific Rim by director Guillermo del Toro. The movie was being shot in Toronto and they were looking for extras. The role paid just $10 dollars an hour, but it was the stepping stone Liu needed to start his acting career. As soon as he arrived on set he knew he was home.“I ended up falling in love with everything I saw. People have careers devoted to the movies. It wasn’t just the actors – the assistant director, the gaffers working the lights – it was everything. It was such a big production.”While Ivey attracted him to Western, Liu credits one of his first experiences as a frosh with giving him his first taste of fame and one he would reflect on often as he launched his acting career. Facebook Login/Register With:
Advertisement Tarragon’s Girl’s Like That was one of the many female-led shows in 2018. (Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann) THE NEW ARTISTIC LEADERSHIPNever in recent memory has there been such a turnover of talent at the top creative jobs at the city’s theatres and festivals in such a short space of time. The lauded appointment of Weyni Mengesha as Soulpepper’s artistic director was only one of many such changes. The proudly queer Brendan Healy, formerly of Buddies, took over at Canadian Stage, and Josephine Ridge, after abruptly resigning at Luminato two years into her tenure, was replaced by her deputy artistic director, Naomi Campbell, a producer with the festival since 2013. Things look good for 2019.ROBERT LEPAGE’S BIG YEARThe first half of Quebec genius Lepage’s year was filled with major accomplishments at some of the country’s biggest institutions.First came the remount of his sumptuous The Nightingale And Other Short Fables for the Canadian Opera Company, which had to add an extra performance to fulfill audience demand; then came his movie-inspired production of Coriolanus at the Stratford Festival, which earned near universal raves; and then the National Ballet of Canada premiered Frame By Frame, in which Lepage and Ex Machina’s work tended to overshadow that of choreographer Guillaume Côté.But then, in late summer, came the cancellations of two new Lepage works: Kanata, a show that was to explore the relationship between Indigenous people and white settlers in Canada, and SLAV, a show that featured African-American slave songs performed by a white singer. Login/Register With: While there was plenty of drama on Toronto stages this year, there was lots off it as well, beginning with a #MeToo story that made international headlines. If there’s a common denominator to these items, it’s the addressing of the historic imbalance of power and allowing hitherto marginalized voices to finally be heard. Amen.No doubt some savvy playwrights will use these very stories in their future work.THE SOULPEPPER STEAMROLLERNot a week into the new year, four actors once associated with Soulpepper – Kristin Booth, Patricia Fagan, Diana Bentley and Hannah Miller – accused the company’s founding artistic director, Albert Schultz, of sexual assault and harassment. The company acted quickly, Schultz and Leslie Lester, Soulpepper’s executive director, resigned, and Alan Dilworth stepped in as acting artistic director. While it would take months for the women’s civil suits against Schultz and the company to be settled, the incident encouraged other people in vulnerable positions to step forward about their experiences at the George Brown Theatre School and the Randolph College for the Performing Arts. The situation at Soulpepper also led to them hiring a new executive director and artistic director, which leads to…. Advertisement Weyni Mengesha’s appointment as Soulpepper’s new artistic director provided good news after the company’s difficult year. Advertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter