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    Accused in Mountie killing in court

    Herb Mathisen
    Northern News Services
    Published Monday, August 18, 2008

    IQALUIT - The man charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Kimmirut Mountie appeared in Iqaluit court Monday for the start of his preliminary hearing.

    Pingoatuk Kolola is charged with killing 20-year-old Const. Douglas Scott in Kimmirut on Nov. 5, 2007.

    Security was tight outside the Nunavut Court of Justice courtroom, with two members of the RCMP screening those wishing to enter with a magnetic wand and getting them to empty their pockets. Two more RCMP officers were present in the courtroom.

    Kolola at times listened intently, stared at the floor and stroked his chin as evidence was presented.

    "The function of the preliminary inquiry is ... to see if there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trail and, secondly, as a discovery trial for both sides to examine their cases," said Neil Sharkey, Kolola's lawyer.

    Sharkey said the hearing was expected to last all of last week and could possibly extend into this week. The Crown was expected to call approximately 12 witnesses from Kimmirut to appear throughout the proceedings.

    A first-degree murder charge is sought when a killing is seen as planned or deliberate, or when the victim is a police officer.

    A publication ban is in effect during the preliminary hearing, prohibiting the printing of any evidence presented during proceedings.

    Sharkey said this was done in order to protect prospective jury members from forming opinions about the case.

    "The non-publication order is a safeguard built in for the rights of the accused to ensure that there is a jury that isn't hearing things that they shouldn't hear before a trial," said Sharkey.

    He added that the trial could take place some time in 2009.

    "When exactly, we don't know," he added.

    If convicted, Kolola faces an automatic life sentence without eligibility for parole for 25 years.

    "It's a very sad, tragic case," said Sharkey.