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Sex attack on friend 'tragically common' in NWT, says judge

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An Inuvik man who seriously sexually assaulted a woman after she fell asleep at his house was sentenced on Monday.

Jordan Robert Amos, who was 25 at the time of the June 2017 crime, received 2.5 years behind bars for the attack.

“[Amos and the victim] knew each other and the victim had some trust in Mr Amos," Crown prosecutor Martine Sirois told Supreme Court Justice Andrew Mahar.

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"They had a friendship, otherwise [she] wouldn’t have gone to his house to watch movies.”

The woman, who was 23 at the time, woke up partially clothed and in a great deal of pain to find Amos standing over her, Sirois said.

“This is a serious crime,” the prosecutor said, in asking for a sentence between 2.5 and 3.5 years. “This is a major sexual assault.”

Amos had been drinking heavily on the day of the attack and can’t recall what he did to his friend, the court heard.

While this is his first sexual assault conviction, Amos has previously been convicted of three assaults and one assault causing bodily harm.

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Defence lawyer Tracy Bock told court Amos has a serious drinking problem – something he wants to beat.

“He doesn’t blame anyone for being in custody,” said Bock. “He blames his drinking … I really doubt that he would be here without the alcohol.”

Both of Amos’s parents are residential school survivors. Being the youngest of several siblings, Amos was fortunate to have avoided the alcohol-fuelled violence in the family home, the court heard, as his parents have been sober for 30 years.

“He sees that as an example, it proves to him that it can be done,” said Bock, noting Amos still had a troubled upbringing. “He was sexually abused. He was bullied in school.”

Bock agreed with the range of sentences put forward by the Crown, but asked that it be toward the lower end of the range.

'I want to be able to provide'

Amos, who has a son with an Aklavik woman and remains in that relationship, told the court he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him. He pledged to take whatever programming he can find while incarcerated.

“I was thinking that when I get out, first of all, [I’ll need to] get my feet planted again. I’ve been away so long,” said the convict, wearing a sweatshirt bearing the words Good Attendance, Good Education, Good Job.

“I’ll need to get a job. I want to be able to provide for our kids.”

The judge gave Amos credit for his early guilty plea, thereby not forcing his victim to testify in court.

Mahar also said several Gladue factors were involved in his decision. The longstanding Gladue principle, named after Cree woman Jamie Tanis Gladue, requires judges to take into consideration circumstances facing Indigenous peoples in order to arrive at an appropriate sentence.

“They were drinking … she fell asleep, she woke up, and realized someone had intercourse with her – she was his friend,” said Mahar. “This is a tragically common set of circumstances in the North. The court has to do everything it can to denounce and deter this kind of behaviour.

“That being said, the court also has to take into significant account the guilty plea … as [the victim] doesn’t have to be re-traumatized.”

Amos had a total of 296 pre-trial days in remand, so he has 617 days left to serve at the Fort Smith Correctional Complex's male unit.

Amos will be on the National Sex Offenders Registry and will have to provide a DNA sample. He will have a no-contact order with the woman he attacked.