WARNING. This article contains abuse information.
A BC relationship coach who twice confessed to assaulting his then-partner is set to walk away without a criminal record following a verdict that the victim describes as a “complete failure” for the justice system.
Former chiropractor Nima Rahmani pleaded guilty in Vancouver provincial court last month to two counts of assault and received a one-year suspended sentence, telling the court his abuse was the result of his victim, Amanda Croetsch, “provoking” him .
In handing down the verdict, Judge Ellen Gordon said Rahmani repented of a “very deep understanding” of why he carried out the attacks.
The conditional release means that if Rahmani remains calm and behaves well for the next 12 months, no criminal record will be added to his file.
For Krotch, this offer was like a slap in the face.
“I was shocked. I was taught to manage my expectations, but I was not prepared for the fact that there would eventually be no convictions, as if it had never happened, ”she told CBC News.
“I really don’t have the words to describe the culmination of this whole experience other than that it was a complete and utter failure.”
- A woman who was assaulted by her husband received $800,000 in a civil lawsuit. He received a full release from the criminal case.
Rahmani was charged with assaulting Krech in five separate incidents over nearly two years, including one charge of assault causing bodily harm, but the remaining charges were dropped when he pleaded guilty.
Legal experts and domestic violence advocates who have reviewed the sentencing hearing transcript and sentencing decision say there are reasons to be concerned about how the legal system treats domestic violence. This includes Rahmani’s statements in court justifying his violence and the judge’s assessment of his character and remorse.
Angela Marie McDougall, executive director of Abused Women’s Support Services, said she was dismayed that the judge appeared to accept Rahmani’s explanation that she was “provoked”.
“It’s actually amazing to see that this judge agreed that there is any justification for violence,” McDougall said.
“It just makes us think again and again about the extent to which the legal system can be beneficial for any victim.”
Haley Hrimak, a research and outreach lawyer at Rise Women’s Law Center, says abusers often try to “mutually” take responsibility for their abuse by shifting blame to the victim.
“From his statement, I understand that he believes that his two physical attacks on the victim were, at least in part, her fault. This is not remorse and we certainly don’t want the legal system to endorse such sexist logic,” he said in an email.
But Grimak also noted that parole is common in cases where the attacker pleads guilty and has no criminal record.
Attacker Claims “All My Charges Have Been Dropped”
Rahmani, who once called himself a “rap chiropractor,” relinquished his chiropractic license last year while a police investigation was underway.
According to his website, he now coaches “people stuck in toxic relationships.” Unlike chiropractors, life coaches are not regulated in British Columbia, so he no longer has a professional college to take disciplinary action.
He declined to be interviewed for this story, saying it was inappropriate while he and Crotch are involved in family lawsuits. However, he addressed the criminal case in social media posts, incorrectly claiming that “today all my charges were dropped.”
He worded his guilty plea as “[taking] responsibility for my role in the Trauma Bond dynamic, from which I am still trying to free myself to this day.”
- The lack of regulation means that the BC therapist can treat patients despite complaints of sexual harassment.
According to court records, the first assault Rahmani pleaded guilty to took place on June 15, 2017, when he pushed Krech with both hands, causing her to fall and hit her head on a piece of furniture.
The second was on March 11, 2018, when he grabbed Crotch, threw her to the floor, and hit her on the side of the head.
In a tearful recorded victim statement played for court which has now been made publicCrotch described the long-term effects of the attacks, including complex post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, and an inability to perform basic tasks such as washing and driving.
“I no longer recognize and know myself and the life that I am now living, and I am not sure that I will ever get my life or myself back,” Kroetsch told the court.
However, since Rahmani’s charge of assault causing bodily harm was dropped, Crotch said she could not tell the judge about the traumatic brain injury she suffered from the attacks, a circumstance that infuriated her.
“There is no such thing as bad things”
Crotch said she met Rahmani through their mutual admiration for John DeMartini, an American public speaker who starred in a self-help film. Secretwhich supports the pseudoscientific theory that positive thinking attracts positive things.
Demartini teaches that even the most negative actions and events have an equal share of advantages and disadvantages.
“We are taught that there are no bad things,” Kroetsch said. “There are no exceptions to the rule, whether it’s a broken toe or rape.”
CBC is investigating
Domestic violence victims say family courts don’t exonerate them
She has since left this world behind, but for about four years of their relationship, Crotch and Rahmani ran a business together, educating clients on Demartini’s philosophy.
She said that when the abuse started early in the relationship, her beliefs taught her that she somehow attracted the abuse. After each attack, she said, she and Rahmani “did a job” to determine why it happened and what they could be grateful for.
It wasn’t until he mentioned the attacks to a non-subculture friend and heard her shocked reaction that Crotch decided to go to the police.
According to the victim, the court session was heartbreaking
Rahmani pleaded guilty in front of the court, so the sentencing hearing was Krech’s only real chance to hear about the attacks being tried in court.
She participated in the video hearing and said she kept waiting for the judge to ask Rahmani how he took responsibility for his actions or tried to make amends for his victim, but that never happened.
“It was actually heartbreaking,” she said.
CBC is investigating
Courts don’t protect our children, domestic violence victims say
When asked why he attacked Krech, Rahmani said that it was because of “poisonous shame” and that she provoked his “childhood trauma” by starting arguments.
“She provoked me by saying that other people are talking about you. And my biggest trigger was: oh, what will people think of me? , very similar, ”the transcript says.
Judge Ellen Gordon replied, “Okay, I understand.”
Earlier in the hearing, Gordon noted that Rahmani attended anger management sessions in April and May 2018, which she described as “wonderful” and a sign of how frustrated he is with his actions.
Gordon did not mention that Rahmani was also charged with assaulting Krech after completing anger management in December 2018. This charge was dropped due to his plea deal.
- Intimate partner assault victim by British Columbia lawyer calls three-month suspension ‘a slap in the face’
Gordon also praised the education of Rahmani and his family, calling them former refugees who “definitely seem to love Canada” and noting that they follow the Baha’i religion, which she called “the faith of the world”.
MacDougall, of the Abused Women’s Services, said she was amazed at how many assumptions the judge made about Rahmani’s character based on his family and education.
“These assumptions then became the reasons that formed the basis … to issue a very, very reduced sentence,” McDougall said.
Crotch wrote to Crown’s attorney asking for an appeal of the verdict, but her request was denied.
The result made her wonder if it was worth reporting the attacks at all.
She said she thought it was important to file reports with the police in order to contribute to accurate domestic violence statistics, but she was not sure if she would advise anyone in her situation to do the same.
How I, a Strong, Confident Woman, Became a Victim of Intimate Partner Violence
“Involvement in the criminal justice system and what I thought was right delayed my healing for years,” she said.
“If your main goal is to get back on your feet, it’s a waste of time. Not just a waste of time – it’s actually harmful.”