A Canadian flag flies atop Yellowknife's courthouse. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Warning: This report contains details of violence from the outset that readers may find disturbing.
A 19-year-old man from Edmonton has been sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the violent robbery of a woman in Yellowknife in 2021.
The victim of the attack, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, came home on Halloween that year to find Yahya Musa Abdullahi and two other men waiting for her in her living room. Court documents state the men believed she had stolen crack cocaine from them and demanded she return the drugs or pay them $6,000.
After the woman denied the accusation, they hit her with a pistol and baseball bat, cut her hair with a machete and scissors, dragged her on the floor, berated her, taped her mouth and wrists, and threatened to kill her while filming the attack on their phones. They also stole the woman’s cellphone and some of her identification documents.
While sentencing Abdullahi in May, Deputy NWT Supreme Court Justice Louise Charbonneau described the attack as cruel, callous, disgusting and sickening.
“The objective was clearly to terrorize, humiliate and dominate someone who was at their total mercy,” she said.
“Aside from the physical injuries,one can only imagine the terror that she experienced.”
Charbonneau accepted the Crown and defence’s joint sentencing submission of six years for the robbery charge, to be served at the same time as a two-year sentence for possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. She said while the sentence was “quite lenient,” it was not so lenient as to justify not following it.
The judge said Abdullahi is a young offender who was born and raised in Edmonton, where he grew up in extreme poverty.
Abdullahi told the judge he came from a loving home and that his crimes are not a reflection of how he was raised. He also apologized for his actions.
“I hope that these very sad circumstances have shaken you up. I hope you felt shock when you watched those videos,” Charbonneau told him, referring to the cellphone footage of the attack.
“I really hope that you are sincere in your apology and I really hope you are sincere in what you say you want to do with your future, so that you can make your parents proud and not ashamed.”
At the time of his sentencing on May 16, with credit for the time he spent in pre-trial custody, Abdullahi had three years and 279 days left to serve.
Abdullahi was among four people charged after police raided a property in Yellowknife in November 2021.
Two other men from Edmonton were each sentenced to nine years in prison for their roles in the robbery as well as charges related to drug trafficking.
Akok Aken, 22, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for conspiring to traffic cocaine, two years to be served at the same time for possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and five years for robbery with a restricted firearm. With credit for time served in pre-trial custody, he had seven years and 110 days left to serve.
Abdulrasaq Yousif, 20, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for robbery with a restricted firearm, three years to be served at the same time for illegally possessing a firearm with ammunition, and four years for conspiring to traffic cocaine. With credit for pre-trial custody, there were seven years and 215 days of his sentence remaining.
Court records indicate charges against a woman from Yellowknife were stayed.