‘I’ve been called worse by better people’ says judge sworn at by convict
After being sentenced for stamping on his partner’s face and threatening to destroy the contents of their house, a Fort Good Hope man offered his assessment of the Territorial Court judge.
An emotional David Maniyogina referred to Judge Donovan Molloy using a profanity related to oral sex before walking out of the video-link room at the North Slave Correctional Complex.
His client gone, defence lawyer Jay Bran apologized to the judge on his behalf during the Thursday hearing.
“The man is obviously upset,” said the judge, adding he would not call Maniyogina back for a hearing on his outburst.
“It’s probably something that’s better off to let him go back to his cell and lick his wounds.
“I’m not going to do anything with it. It’s not an issue of my feelings.”
Maniyogina was sentenced to a total of seven months followed by 18 months’ probation, during which he will be subject to several conditions – including having no contact of communication with his former partner except through a third party approved by the probation officer or the court.
That last condition appeared to trigger the response from Maniyogina.
“We want to work things out for our kids, we want to remain a family, but … with that probation order, I can’t go home now – I’m going to be homeless,” said Maniyogina, 40, adding he had spent much of his life on the streets.
“Even if I allowed contact with her consent, you still wouldn’t be able to go the home where she lives. She doesn’t want you there,” said Molloy.
“What’s happening to you, all of this, is a consequence of you assaulting her. You are the author of your own misfortune.
“You live with that. That’s it, you’re done.”
Earlier, Molloy noted Maniyogina has a lengthy criminal record documenting acts of violence, including three assaults on police officers. This was his fifth conviction for assaulting the same partner.
“It calls for a sentence that will send a message to Mr Maniyogina that he cannot engage in violence and, in particular, cannot engage in violence against [his partner] who he assaulted,” said Molloy.
“He assaulted her, he stomped on her face. Whatever was ongoing on prior to that, clearly he had the upper hand by that point in time.”
During the first day of Maniyogina’s sentencing hearing, on Tuesday, the court heard an alcohol-fuelled argument on April 19 escalated into a fight that left Maniyogina with scratches on his face and swelling of his left eye.
Maniyogina threw the mother of his children to the ground and stamped on her face as their 18-month old daughter watched.
On April 26, during a jailhouse phone call to the woman – whom he was prohibited from contacting – he asked for money, then threatened to come to her house when released and destroy its contents.
The woman, said by the Crown to self-identify as Indigenous, had filed a victim impact statement which she did not want read out in court.
“The issue of domestic violence is an extremely serious issue in this jurisdiction and we have an offender who has multiple priors, not only for violence but for violence upon an intimate partner,” said Molloy, noting Parliament last year amended the Criminal Code.
“Aboriginal women, in the context of domestic violence, have been recognized as a particularly vulnerable population. That calls, going forward, for increased sentences for domestic assault – harder sentences.”
The judge said that was the case even if the accused is Indigenous and subject to Gladue Factors. The longstanding Gladue principle, named after Cree woman Jamie Tanis Gladue, saw the Supreme Court rule sentencing judges must consider the unique systemic or background factors which may have played a part in bringing an Indigenous offender before the courts.
‘We drank every day’
Molloy acknowledged Maniyogina had “an extremely difficult life.”
The court heard Maniyogina had been a ward of the state and “bounced around” from various foster homes since he was a child in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.
He moved to Yellowknife in 1998 and says he lived on the streets for more than two decades. “I drank alcohol to deal with the pain I had from Cambridge Bay,” he told the court on Tuesday.
He met his partner on the streets of Yellowknife. “She was an alcoholic and I was an alcoholic,” he said. ”We drank every day … that’s how our relationship grew.”
In 2015, the couple moved to Fort Good Hope, hoping the change in location would help sober them up. They got sober, the court heard, but had a few “slips.”
“I don’t want my kids to grow up like I did – physically, mentally and sexually abused,” Maniyogina said, noting they have three children.
His sentence features seven months for assault causing bodily harm, three months to be served concurrently for uttering threats, and another three months to be served concurrently for the breach of a court order.
Having built up pre-trial remand credit of 48 days, Maniyogina has a balance of 162 days left to serve.
He will then be under a probation order for 18 months, during which he will need to report to a probation officer. He must abstain from alcohol, take any counselling as directed, and perform 100 hours of community service.
He will also have to notify the probation officer “prior to entering any new relationship with any intimate partner or resuming a relationship with any prior intimate partner,” said Molloy.
Maniyogina can’t contact his former partner except through a third party approved by the probation officer or the court, and that can only be for access to his children and during any court proceedings related to custody issues.
He also can’t go to his former partner’s place of residence, employment, or education.
He will be prohibited from possessing firearms, but can seek a sustenance exemption.