Darryl Marlowe has been cleared of impaired driving while chief of the Łútsël K’é Dene First Nation in a January 2021 incident.
Marlowe was accused of impaired driving after an incident involving a snowmobile that saw him medevaced from Łútsël K’é to Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital on January 3 that year.
Marlowe maintained his innocence throughout.
As reported by the CBC, a Crown witness last month altered their recollection of what took place, leading Marlowe’s lawyer, Paul Falvo, to argue that Marlowe could not be definitively placed behind the controls of a snowmobile that subsequently crashed.
Falvo told Cabin Radio there were also no known witnesses to the crash itself, and the strongest evidence against Marlowe came “from words he himself allegedly said to an officer at the detachment, two weeks after the snowmobile crash.”
Cpl Harland Venema, former commanding officer of the Łútsël K’é RCMP detachment, had told the court Marlowe made a voluntary statement regarding the snowmobile accident, implicating himself in what took place. Venema said he did not intend to take a statement from Marlowe regarding the incident, so did not have his notebook on him at the time. Instead, the officer said he recorded the statement shortly afterward on a computer in his office.
Marlowe, however, disputed the wording of the statement as recorded by Venema. Because of the discrepancy, Falvo sought to have the statement rejected as evidence.
While Territorial Court Judge Jeannie Scott decided the statement could be admitted, she ultimately ruled on Friday last week that sufficient doubt existed to acquit Marlowe, who was reported to have stepped down as Łútsël K’é’s chief earlier in the summer.