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Judge finds father guilty of assault against daughter
Father drunkenly accused 11-year-old daughter of stealing a bottle of vodka

Terrence McEachern
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, August 11, 2011

A 49-year-old Iqaluit father who drunkenly accused his 11-year-old daughter of stealing a bottle of vodka, and then hit her twice in the head and tried to bite her cheek after she started to cry, was found guilty of assault and breach of probation in the Nunavut Court of Justice.

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Judge Robert Kilpatrick said a 49-year-old father's testimony was the "stuff of fiction" and found him guilty of assaulting his 11-year-old daughter after accusing her of stealing a bottle of vodka. - Terrence McEachern/NNSL photo

In an Aug. 4 written decision, Judge Robert Kilpatrick said he accepted the girl's testimony at the July 19 trial while dismissing her father's as the "stuff of fiction."

On Aug. 18, 2010, the father, his aunt and his cousin were drinking in the father's living room while the young girl went into his bedroom to watch television. The cousin took the bottle of vodka with him when he left the residence

After drinking for several hours, the father entered the bedroom at around 3:30 a.m. and accused his daughter of stealing the vodka.

During the assault, a person walking by the residence heard the young girl screaming and called the police.

Kilpatrick said the young girl didn't try to embellish or deliberately distort her testimony, even when an opportunity to do so might have arisen.

"To the contrary, this witness loved her dad. She still does. Despite the incident bringing her to court, this child describes (her father) as being a good dad, at least when he is not drinking."

Besides the two blows to the head, both with an open palm, and the attempt to bite her cheek, the father, in an "alcohol-infused stupor" also bruised her arm as he held her as she tried to get away, stated Kilpatrick.

The father, who pleaded not guilty to the charges on Nov. 4, 2010, offered a different version of events at trial that he passed out in his bedroom at around 12:30 a.m. after drinking with his cousin and aunt, and was awoken when he heard his daughter walking to the kitchen. He got up and saw her pour two ounces of vodka from his glass into the sink.

He then told the court he brought his daughter into the living room only to comfort and console her after she started screaming. He said he wasn't trying to bite his daughter but instead was trying to kiss her three times. He also denied striking her on the forehead, and suggested red marks on her forehead could have happened as she tried to squirm away from him.

"The defendant's testimony is rife with minimization and denial," wrote Kilpatrick. "These are the sad trademarks of an alcoholic. The defendant minimized the extent of his drinking and he minimized the extent of upset to his daughter. She was not just crying, she was screaming."

The court heard that the man began drinking heavily after his marriage broke apart in 2006, and that his daughter moved in with him two years ago after living with her mother for a period of time.

Kilpatrick also found the father guilty of breaching a court-ordered condition he not possess or consume alcohol.

The father is scheduled to be sentenced for these offences on Aug. 29. Also on that date, he is scheduled to stand trial on two other charges from the same night possession of marijuana under 30 grams and breaching a condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

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