An NWT Supreme Court judge sentenced a repeat sex offender to five and a half years’ imprisonment followed by 10 years’ supervision – the maximum period allowed for long-term offenders in Canada.
Gary Nartok, 44, had earlier pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman who was too intoxicated to consent or resist in a Yellowknife apartment in November 2019. It is his third conviction for a sexual offence.
Both Nartok’s lawyer and the Crown agreed Nartok should be deemed a long-term offender but disagreed on the length of time he should serve in prison for the charge.
Prosecutor Noel Sinclair had argued for a sentence of five to six years, while defence lawyer Jay Bran proposed a sentence of four years and five months to five years. The maximum sentence for sexual assault in Canada is 10 years if the victim is over the age of 16.
Under the criminal code, a long-term offender designation carries a prison sentence of at least two years followed by supervision for up to 10 years. The designation is intended to protect the public from offenders who pose a substantial risk of violently reoffending, while reintegrating them into the community.
On Wednesday afternoon, Justice Shannon Smallwood found Nartok met the requirements to be designated a long-term offender and needed the longest period of supervision possible. She said he poses a serious risk to women, including Indigenous women, partners, and women he drinks with.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr Shabreham Lohrasbe had recommended the lengthy supervision period in his assessment of Nartok. He said Nartok is at high risk of reoffending unless he receives intense treatment and prolonged intervention, but may struggle with high-intensity treatment due to his limited education among other challenges.
Lohrasbe diagnosed Nartok with substance abuse disorder, saying there is a clear link between his drinking and violence, as well as anti-social personality disorder, noting his general misogynistic attitude and sexual entitlement. Lohrasbe said Nartok’s crimes show elements of sexual sadism but there was not enough of a pattern to warrant diagnosis.
Nartok’s criminal record includes a previous conviction for the sexual assault of a sleeping victim who required hospital treatment and surgery, as well as convictions for assaulting his domestic partner.
He told Lohrasbe he knows this is his “last chance” and if he reoffends once he is released from prison, he will spend the rest of his life incarcerated.
During sentencing, Smallwood also considered Nartok’s Gladue factors – the unique circumstances of Indigenous offenders that may have played a role in bringing them before the courts.
She noted Nartok was raised in Kugaaruk, Nunavut and had a traditional upbringing. His parents attended residential school and, while he dropped out of school after Grade 10, Nartok also attended residential school for a year. Nartok said he was the victim of sexual assault when he was a child.
With roughly two years and five months credit for pre-trial custody, Nartok has three years and one month remaining in his sentence.