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Justice

NWT woman sexually assaulted twice in two years by same man


Warning: This report contains details of sexual assaults as heard in court that readers may find disturbing.

A Northwest Territories man was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment for the second sexual assault in as many years on the same woman – the sister of his girlfriend.

The accused “has now sexually violated the same victim for a second time and this sexually offending behaviour has now escalated,” said Supreme Court Justice Shannon Smallwood, noting the assaults took place in 2018 and 2019.

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“This was a serious sexual assault which involved forced intercourse where the victim clearly told [her attacker] to stop but, in response, he pushed her down and held her down. He had sexual intercourse with her while she cried out for help.”

In a victim impact statement, the woman said the assault “took a part of my life away.”

Details of the 2018 crime were not provided. The sentence for that incident – 60 days’ imprisonment, a fine of $100, and probation – indicates the assault was considered by the court to be of a lesser nature than that committed in 2019.

The court heard the latest attack took place on November 8, 2019. After a night of drinking at the woman’s residence, Crown prosecutor Martine Sirois said the man – in his late thirties – invited the woman, around the same age, to his house. There, he raped her.

The man and NWT community involved cannot be named as those details could identify the woman.

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The man admitted one count of sexual assault last December. The judge noted that meant the woman did not have to testify.

“It is clear from the pre-sentence report that [the accused] has taken responsibility for what has happened, although it’s not clear that he has substantive insight into his behaviour, or has given much thought as to what impact his actions have had on the victim,” said Smallwood.

“This was an Indigenous female … intoxicated and alone at his residence. It was someone who was known to her – it was the partner of her sister – so she trusted that she would be safe in accepting his invitation.”

Defence lawyer Jessi Casebeer said her client is Indigenous and his mother and grandparents are residential school survivors. He was exposed to “some degree” of alcohol abuse in his childhood.

He struggles with alcoholism and likely suffers from an undiagnosed fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, the court heard.

The man’s criminal record is extensive, starting in his youth in 2001, and includes a March 2020 conviction for a “spousal assault” that is being appealed.

Smallwood said she found the joint submission of 30 months’ incarceration acceptable. As the accused has amassed 16 months of remand custody, he has 14 months to serve.

Smallwood ordered a DNA sample be taken, a lifetime entry on the national sex offender registry, and a 10-year firearms ban with an exemption for sustenance hunting.

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