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Jailed for death threats

Drinking binge leads to one-year sentence

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jan 18/02) - Uttering death threats has earned Hank "Kiwi" Lafferty 12 months in jail.

Territorial court Judge Michel Bourassa found Lafferty guilty last Friday of uttering death threats, breach of undertaking and impaired driving. The 36-year-old Lafferty has more than 40 Criminal Code convictions.

"I'm kind of glad I got arrested, because I was starting to drink and drink heavily," Lafferty told the court before being sentenced.

The charges stemmed from a three-day drinking binge which saw Lafferty threaten to kill a man.

Court heard that on Oct. 15, a simmering dispute between Lafferty and another Yellowknife man spiralled out of control.

Lafferty, in the middle of a three-day drinking binge, encountered the man at the Raven pub. An argument ensued and Lafferty warned that either he, "or my crew" might shoot the man.

Two days later the two men were again in the Raven Pub. From across the dance floor, a drunken Lafferty began making the motions of "lining up as if to shoot a gun."

A short while later, he, "made the gesture of placing a pistol under his chin and pulling the trigger."

Bourassa found Lafferty guilty of uttering death threats. In imposing the sentence, he dismissed suggestions from defence lawyer Graham Watt that Lafferty's threats were simply "drunk talk."

He also rejected the fact that Lafferty was under strict bail conditions since his arrest, since they had been requested by his lawyer.

"Don't cry crocodile tears about his strict conditions when you requested them," Bourassa said.

Speaking before sentencing, Lafferty said he had been receiving counselling at Somba K'e Healing Lodge following his arrest.

Voice breaking, Lafferty told the court he was making progress dealing with years of abuse he suffered as a child.

"I'm learning to deal with that...and want to be a better father to my children," he said.

While Bourassa said that," at his core, (Lafferty) is not an evil man," he still sentenced him to 10 months imprisonment for uttering threats, another two months to be served consecutively for driving while impaired, and another month to be served concurrently for breach of undertaking.