Judge halts return of sex offender with FASD to Tuktoyaktuk

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A Yellowknife judge refused to send a man convicted of multiple sex assaults back to Tuktoyaktuk on supervised probation, halting a sentencing hearing on Thursday.

Instead, Territorial Court Judge Donovan Molloy issued a subpoena for a corrections official to appear in front of him, next week, to provide assisted living residential treatment options for Gilbert Katigakyok.

Katigakyok, 25, was to be sentenced to time served for breaking into a house in the hamlet and sexually assaulting two children.

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The court heard Katigakyok is diagnosed with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and has the intellectual age of a child aged six or seven. He has twice before been convicted of entering a house in the hamlet in the early morning hours and sexually assaulting women and children.

“He is not leaving here to go [back] on the terms suggested … if there is a treatment program identified, I could be far more likely to accept this submission,” said Molloy, referring to a joint sentencing recommendation from the Crown and defence.

“That is like saying to the community, ‘Too bad for you, you are going to have no choice … but to live with fear. We are not going to do anything for you.’”

Defence lawyer Peter Harte told the court finding solutions in the NWT for people living with FASD is a daunting proposition.

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Harte said the territorial government had, in his view, done little to provide alternatives other than keeping offenders behind bars or allowing them to be released into the community after serving their time. 

“You’d better write your MLA because government has done nothing to deal with this problem,” he said, noting he has worked with other clients in similar predicaments.

“The court is left holding the bag … the people in corrections need to say to MLAs, ‘You are not doing anything about this.’”

Getting the Office of the Public Guardian involved in cases such as Katigakyok’s is “like pulling teeth,” Harte added.

'Significantly deterred'

On March 17, Katigakyok entered the unlocked door of a residence in Tuktoyaktuk and fondled two sleeping girls, aged 11 and 12. He only stopped when one of them threatened to get her father.

Harte and Crown prosecutor Martine Sirois had recommended Katigakyok be sentenced to what would amount to his time served in pre-trial custody, then be on probation with strict conditions for three years.

Those conditions would include an overnight curfew and for the corrections department to report back to the court on his progress. 

It would be up to corrections officials to determine how best to handle Katigakyok, but options are limited in the remote northern community of 900. 

His record includes two previous similar crimes, said Sirois.

In June 2017, at 6:30am, Katigakyok entered the residence of a woman through an unlocked door. She found him on top of her, kissing her and grabbing her behind. Three children were on the bed beside her.

On April 1, at 6am, Katigakyok entered the residence of a woman through an unlocked door. She found him on top of her, “snuggling” and grabbing her breasts, said Sirois.

That offence occurred after he had committed the March 17 crimes he was being sentenced to Thursday.

“On three occasions, he snuck in [houses] in the dark and sexually assaulted women,” said Judge Molloy. “How does the court say, ‘Just go back to Tuktoyaktuk’ and that this man has been significantly deterred?

“I’m talking about the protection of the public. Your home should be your refuge; a place of safety.”

Court heard Katigakyok’s mother attended residential school and that she consumed alcohol during pregnancy. Katigakyok was apprehended at the age of two and grew up in a relatively stable home.

The hearing will resume on Friday, August 9, at 9:30am. 

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