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Court News and Legal Links

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News Briefs: Monday, April 2, 2012
Trial dates set

Former Inuvik schoolteacher Hughes Latour is scheduled to stand trial in Inuvik Wednesday, May 9 on charges of common assault, forcible confinement and breach of conditions.

A pre-trial hearing was also scheduled for the same day for charges of sexual assault, sexual interference of a person under the age of 14, possession of child pornography and making or publishing child pornography.

The Crown asked for a two-week adjournment on the pre-trial charges because of the seriousness of the alleged offences.

Latour is scheduled to appear in court in Inuvik May 2.

- Laura Busch

Trial for 32-year-old rape case

A preliminary hearing held in Behchoko on March 21 committed former Behchoko chief and MLA, Leon Lafferty, Jonas Bouvier and Leonard Camsell to trial on counts of rape and indecent assault.

The charges - laid in late 2011 - stem from an alleged incident which occurred 32 years ago, on March 1, 1979. A date for the trial had not yet been set as of Thursday.

- Lyndsay Herman

Daytime driving restrictions on winter road

The GNWT Department of Transportation announced travel restrictions for large vehicles and vehicles pulling trailers on the Mackenzie Winter Road between Wrigley and Gotcha Creek as of March 27.

Drivers of these vehicles can only begin a trip along the 223 km length of the road between midnight and 6 a.m. and drivers must finish their trip by noon.

A commercial alert sent by Earl Blacklock, manager of public affairs and communications for the Department of Transportation, warns drivers that they can be fined more than $800 for using the road outside of the service hours. Blacklock also states that the Mackenzie Winter Road system is expected to close for the season at noon on April 1.

The average closing date of the road system is March 31.

- Lyndsay Herman

Winter road to close

The winter road connecting Fort Smith and Fort Chipewyan, Alta., will close for the season as of noon on April 2.

The seasonal route runs for 109 km from Peace Point, which is 120 km south of Fort Smith in Wood Buffalo National Park, to Fort Chipewyan.

The park maintains the road, which opened for the season on Dec. 15.

- Paul Bickford

Trade show sold out

The Fort Smith Trade Show - set for April 28 - is sold out of available space for booths.

Linda Martin, the trade show organizer and general manager of Thebacha Business Development Services, said a record 60 booths have been rented by 49 different businesses and organizations.

Last year, 55 booths were rented.

- Paul Bickford

Exhibit at Fort Smith museum

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A collection of paintings by a former Fort Smith resident will be on display throughout April at the community's Northern Life Museum.

The exhibit, called The Silent Breed, features the work of Robert Burke, who now lives in British Columbia.

The focus of the paintings is the children, such as Burke himself, born as the result of relationships between native women in the Fort Smith area and African-American soldiers during the Second World War, and the resulting issues of cultural heritage. There were roughly 2,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in Fort Smith during the building of the Alcan Highway, which is now the Alaska Highway.

The paintings also focus on Burke's experiences in residential school in Fort Resolution.

- Paul Bickford

Owl survey in national park

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A survey of owls is underway in Wood Buffalo National Park.

There are to be five nightly surveys between March 27 and April 10.

The study will involve park staff and volunteers from the Environmental and Natural Resources Technology Program at Aurora College in Fort Smith.

They will listen for owl calls, count individual owls and determine species.

The survey will document trends in the owl population in both the NWT and Alberta sections of the park as part of an Alberta-wide study involving Environment Canada, the provincial Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development and the Beaverhill Bird Observatory, east of Edmonton.

- Paul Bickford

Elections set in Lutsel K'e

Lutsel K'e/Snowdrift

Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation will hold its elections for chief and council later this month.

The election for chief will be held on April 16, while six councillors will be elected two days later on April 18.

Nominations for both chief and council close on April 2.

Polling stations for both elections will be set up in Lutsel K'e, Yellowknife and Fort Smith.

- Paul Bickford

Students learn on the land

Tetlit'Zheh/Fort McPherson

The students of Chief Julius School recently participated in the On the Lands Project, a program that teaches students skills in hunting, trapping, and traditional methods of living off of the land. The program ran from March 19 to 27 and included all students at Chief Julius School.

The activities varied by the age of the students. Students in Grades 7 to 9 were taken caribou hunting and younger students in kindergarten to Grade 6 went on day trips to the Fort McPherson boat landing and to a cabin along Peel River.

Shirley Snowshoe, assistant principal at Chief Julius School, said she was very appreciative for all the community support the school received for the program.

"We really would like to thank the Tl'oondi Healing Society, the Tetlit Gwich'in Renewable Resources Council, and all the elders who participated," Snowshoe said. "Along with hunting and trapping, we had everything from storytelling to traditional medicine."

- Lyndsay Herman

Polar bear hunt underway

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

The polar bear hunting season has been open since March 1 and will close in May.

The season is well underway and the numbers of bears brought in may already have hit half the quota, but it is too early to give any concrete numbers of how many bears were hunted so far, said Sharon Green, a board member for the Hunters and Trappers Committee in Sachs Harbour.

- Lyndsay Herman

Easter fun in Paulatuk


The Paulatuk hamlet office has been busy getting ready for Easter events that took place this past weekend, said Lily-Ann Green, recreation co-ordinator for Paulatuk.

The five days of festivities on Darnley Bay started March 29 and will end today. Green said activities were planned for children, youth, and adults. One of the weekend's most popular events, the James Ruben Sr. Coin Toss, is back for another year and open to all attendees 18 or older.

Participants will rush onto the ice of Darnley Bay and try to find one marked quarter, dime and nickel in a sea of unmarked coins. The winners receive 15 gallons of fuel for the marked quarter, 10 gallons for the marked dime, and five gallons for the marked nickel.

The coin toss was started by the late James Ruben Sr. who owned the fuel contract in Paulatuk. His son, James Ruben Jr., has taken over the family business and continues the well-loved event.

- Lyndsay Herman

Food and festivities in Aklavik


The Aklavik Sing-Along Group is hosting the Revival Sing-Along starting tomorrow and running until April 5 at the Sittichinli Complex.

The events begin at 5 p.m. where visitors who are travelling from Kaktovik, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Barrow, Alaska, will be welcomed by speeches, a potluck dinner and singing.

Singing begins again on Wednesday along with snacks at 6 p.m.

A jam session and board games will follow at around 9 p.m.

The event concludes on Thursday with closing remarks, a sing-along, and a drum dance, but these closing events will be the beginning of the weekend-long Aklavik Mad Trapper Rendezvous Carnival.

- Lyndsay Herman

Snacks, crafts and stories


Two children's reading programs - Reading Rascals, and Ready for Reading - have been successfully running at the Inuvik Centennial Library for more than 10 years and are still going strong.

"After reading, we do a little craft," said Sandhya Koirala, library assistant at Inuvik Centennial Library. "We have some snacks. It's a great little get-together for the kids."

On Mondays starting at 10:30 a.m. and Sundays from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. youth attending the drop-in class are read two children's books, have some snacks and then do a craft relating to one or both of the stories they read. On Monday of last week, children heard the story Ten Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle and created yellow duck masks out of construction paper.

- Lyndsay Herman

Fewer contested divorces in the territory

Nunavut has the lowest proportion of both contested divorce and of granting divorces within three months, data released from Statistics Canada on March 28 shows.

Only 10 per cent of divorces in this territory were disputed in 2010-2011, the lowest rate among the three territories and Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, the data shows. The average of all seven jurisdictions was 20 per cent.

Nunavut had 32 active divorce cases in 2010-11, the data shows, and of those, 12 divorces were granted.

- Jeanne Gagnon

New vice-presidents, board member for KIA


The Kitikmeot Inuit Association has a new board member, vice-president of finance and vice-president following a March 26 election.

Attima Hadlari was elected vice-president with 246 votes, surpassing rivals Jack Kaniak and Jimmy Ross Miyok, the association's chief returning officer, Fred Pedersen, announced in a press release. Vice-president-elect of finance is Dennis Lyall with 170 votes, who garnered more votes than Bob Aknavigak and Remi Krikort.

Bob Aknavigak was successful in his bid to become a board member, being elected in that role with 49 votes, surpassing rival Jeannie Evalik.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Man accused in Kimmirut shooting remains in custody


David Lyta, the 22-year-old man accused of firing a gun at the homes of two RCMP officers in Kimmirut, remains in custody after the court was unable to reach the woman who will potentially be responsible for him when he's on bail.

Lyta was in court March 30 for a bail hearing, during which time his lawyer Norman Boose was going to ask the court for bail under guarantee of an unnamed Kimmirut woman.

Crown prosecutor John Solski suggested Boose should have presented a specific form to that effect, but it was not prepared. Boose said the form is never used, and making the guarantee over the phone might be better anyway because it allows the court to ask questions and be more assured. Justice of the peace Nicole Sikma decided that it would be fine to bypass the form this time. Unfortunately for Lyta, the Kimmirut woman in question was not available when the court tried to reach her by phone. He remains in custody until an April 10 bail hearing, at which point Boose will be expected to present the form instead.

- Casey Lessard

More Iqaluit bars punished for liquor violations


Two Iqaluit bars were handed fines and liquor licence suspensions for liquor violations by the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board on March 22.

The Chartroom Lounge, inside the Navigator Inn in Iqaluit, was fined $10,000 and will lose its liquor licence from March 26 to April 3. The lounge admitted serving alcohol to intoxicated persons and allowing intoxicated persons to be at its premises, illegal under the Nunavut Liquor Act and Liquor Regulations, stated the board in a news release. Board chairman David Wilman said this is the second time in less than a year the Chartroom Lounge has been before the board for liquor violations.

The B.P.O. Elks, was fined $2,000 and had its liquor licence suspended for March 27. The Elks also admitted serving alcohol to intoxicated persons and allowing intoxicated persons to be at its premises, stated the board in a news release. Wilman said this is the second time in slightly more than a year the B.P.O. Elks appeared before it for liquor violations.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Six arrested for drug sales at Iqaluit bars, stores


Six Iqaluit residents face drug trafficking or bootlegging charges after a week-long undercover operation, which saw undercover RCMP officers buy marijuana nine times at Iqaluit bars and storefronts.

Officers also bought liquor from a residence on two occasions, an RCMP news release stated.

Operation Vegas ran March 19 to 24 in response to complaints from the public about drug trafficking at local businesses, police said. While the release detailing the bust did not qualify the precise locations, many in the community have complained on social media sites about drug sales outside Iqaluit grocery stores.

Five people, ranging in age from 21 to 35, face marijuana trafficking charges, including one who also faces a bootlegging charge. One additional individual faces bootlegging charges. All but one were released on court conditions, and will appear in court May 7.

- Casey Lessard

Taloyoak SAO heads to leadership conference

Taloyoak/Spence Bay

Taloyoak's senior administrative officer is one of 230 people from across the country chosen to participate in the upcoming Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference.

Chris Dickson will head to Halifax to take part in the event from June 1 to 15, learning more about sustainable communities and green projects - this year's conference topic. He said he was notified by letter just before Christmas that he was chosen.

"With the extra construction and infrastructure needs our community currently has, I thought it was a great avenue I would be able to gather more information and bring back to Taloyoak," he said.

Dickson said he will also visit Montreal while 10 participants will head to Taloyoak from June 7 to 9, job-shadowing hamlet staff, participate in an elders' tea on the land and other activities.

"I am looking very forward to it. It will be a wonderful experience, both for myself and for the municipality," he said. "I am very excited participants will actually be visiting our community."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Elders' night

Kinngait/Cape Dorset

Finger food and supper was served to more than 60 elders who attended a night dedicated to elders at Peter Pitseolak School in Cape Dorset on March 22.

Eight junior high students served finger food, homemade soup, fishcakes, macaroni and cheese as well as dessert during the annual event held at the school's gym, wrote student support teacher Chris Jenkins in an e-mail. He said the elders were treated to entertainment and played games after supper, and several of them had their pictures taken dressed in their traditional costume.

"Everyone had an enjoyable night," stated Jenkins.

He said they might hold another elders' night this year in April or May.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Spaghetti lunch


Qarmartalik School students were treated to a spaghetti lunch with garlic bread and dessert on March 19, courtesy of the RCMP and Canadian Forces staff.

The military helped the Resolute RCMP prepare the lunch with the contribution of school staff and community hotels, stated school principal Jennifer Borden via e-mail.

"The students loved the idea and everyone stayed at the school for the dinner," she stated.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Seven jobs created in Sanikiluaq


Seven new full-time permanent jobs are being created in Sanikiluaq, senior administrative officer Andre Larabie said after forwarding a balanced budget to the Department of Community and Government Services last week.

The jobs will replace casual positions in the hamlet's water and sewage department.

"For safety issues these days, you can't just let the driver drive around and back up to the house," Larabie said, noting four assistant-to-the-driver positions are being created.

Another role, assistant to the mechanic, will help reduce the workload on the town's mechanic.

"We only have one mechanic in town. If he goes sick, we are without a mechanic whatsoever. The assistant could learn and eventually get their apprenticeship."

Other positions will help reduce the burden on garbage collectors.

Hamlet employees are also receiving a raise, "so they're very pleased with that," Larabie said after a March 26 staff meeting.

The hamlet will spend $700,000 on road equipment this year, as well as $300,000 for capital, he said.

- Casey Lessard

Twenty-two new homes ready for Sanikiluaq


Over the next two months, builders in Sanikiluaq will hand over the keys to 22 new homes to the Qammaq Housing Association, hamlet senior administrative officer Andre Larabie said.

"The construction is just finished," Larabie said. Most of them are two- and three-bedroom units, primarily in five-plex rowhouses.

With a recent census figure of more than 900 people, the homes will assist in housing the population, which has "jumped in the last three years," he said.

"Having those homes released, they'll be able to move families into them."

- Casey Lessard

Muskox program moving slowly

Ausuittuq/Grise Fiord

Losing time to government fiscal year-end meetings in the hamlet, the Nunavut Arctic College muskox program in Grise Fiord is trying to get back on track.

"The project is going slow," said adult educator Jimmie Qaapik. "That delayed the project and other elders projects, as well."

Qaapik said the meetings delayed the work a week or two.

The program has successfully cleaned one muskox hide, which is now ready for wool extraction. Qaapik is hoping for five or more muskoxen to be brought in before spring arrives at the end of May. If the program does not harvest more muskoxen, it will not be able to accommodate more than four students, he said. The students are expected to create media for a website on the project by the end of the spring.

- Casey Lessard