The 40-year-old man was convicted by a jury on two counts of sexual assault as well as two additional charges. He was sentenced in Yellowknife on Monday. (Walter Strong/CBC) An Inuvik, N.W.T., man who had managed to rise above his troubled youth for more than a decade has been sentenced to five years in prison on sexual assault and other charges.
The 40-year-old man, who CBC News is not identifying because it could identify the victim, embraced his girlfriend and other supporters before being led away on Monday.
He was convicted by a jury on two counts of sexual assault as well as two additional charges — assault and making a death threat.
In a victim impact statement, the woman involved in the case said she did not want the man to spend any time in jail and just wanted to get on with her life.
The victim had testified that the man forced her to have sex in 2012, shortly after they met in Yellowknife. The jury also heard of another instance, while they were in a common-law relationship.
The victim said following a birthday celebration at a Yellowknife bar in 2014, the man choked her, slapped her and bit down on her thumb so hard, she screamed.
The following year, during a night of drinking in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., the victim said he told her that if he ever caught her cheating on him, he would cut her throat.
The man testified in the trial, denying all of the allegations against him. His lawyer suggested the woman’s accusations were motivated by malice because she went to police with them in 2016, after getting information that suggested he was cheating on her. Described as ‘caring, hard-working’ in support letters
However, the allegations against the man did not line up with letters of support from his current girlfriend, relatives and friends.
"They describe him as a caring, hard-working person who has been a productive member of society," N.W.T. Supreme Court Justice Shannon Smallwood said in court as she handed down her sentence on Monday.
Smallwood said she also took into account that the man had "a childhood that no child should have to endure," including abuse at residential school and in his family home.
Both the judge and the man’s lawyer said it’s not surprising that he began to get into trouble with the law at an early age as a result.
He has accumulated 30 criminal convictions in his lifetime, although the latest conviction is his first in 15 years.
Smallwood said an appropriate sentence for the man’s crimes would be seven years, but she said that would amount to a "crushing" sentence. Smallwood went on to reduce the sentence by two years.
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