Judge ‘tempted to call Inuvik attack torture’

Minutes after a judge said John Paul Dowdal “terrorized” a woman in Inuvik – handing him a 15-month sentence – the prisoner shouted profanities which echoed through the halls of the Yellowknife courthouse.

Judge Robert Gorin said Dowdal’s use of a weapon to assault a woman in Inuvik, on February 18, had been “particularly egregious.”

Dowdal pleaded guilty to that attack, the violation of a court order, and the unlawful sale of liquor.


“He struck and kicked her for over a half an hour,” said Gorin, who sided with the Crown’s sentencing recommendation after considering whether a stiffer penalty was warranted. 

“I won’t use the term ‘torture,’ but it is tempting to do so. In short, she was terrorized,” the judge said.

On Thursday, the court heard Dowdal assaulted the woman with a weapon, threatened to kill her or cut off her finger, “forced her on her knees,” and held her against her will.

When asked if he had anything to say, Dowdal chose only speak of his desire to return to training for work. 

“I’m not getting any younger,” said the middle-aged man. He did not offer an apology for his actions.


However, calling the judge several obscene names and being summoned back into court, Dowdal was ready to apologize to avoid a contempt-of-court motion.

Dowdal will be on probation for one year upon his release, while he was fined $510 for the unlawful sale of liquor.

He had accumulated 69 pre-trial days in remand, or 5.75 months, leaving him 9.25 months left to serve on his sentence.