Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Judge criticizes Yellowknife RCMP for jailing intoxicated sex assault victim

Police said in a statement quoted in the judgment that the highly intoxicated woman was taken to the cells for her safety.

A judge has criticized the Yellowknife RCMP for taking an intoxicated sexual assault victim to jail instead of to hospital.

In a decision released earlier this month, Justice Garth Malakoe said there are no circumstances that would justify confining the woman to police cells overnight in May 2017.

“I am unable to imagine circumstances which would justify this type of treatment of a victim of sexual assault,” he wrote. “It appears the victim was not treated with the dignity and compassion that she or any victim of a sexual assault deserves.”

Malakoe said the woman should have been taken to hospital for an examination.

Police said in a statement quoted in the judgment that the highly intoxicated woman was taken to the cells for her safety.

Malakoe’s observation was made in a verdict rendered on Wade Kapakatoak, who pleaded guilty to sexual assault. Kapakatoak was captured on surveillance cameras committing the assault at night behind a movie theatre. It was witnessed by the theatre’s owner.

Police said the victim was so drunk she was passing in and out of consciousness. She had difficulty talking and dressing herself.

The arresting officer told court he arrested the victim for public drunkenness and took her to jail “for her safety.”

“The treatment by the police of the victim was egregious,” wrote Malakoe. “This treatment is an issue that should be examined and the police should have to explain.”

RCMP in Yellowknife did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.

Bree Denning of Yellowknife Women’s Society said that things have changed.

“The RCMP did frequently take people who were intoxicated to cells,” she said. “Very few people desire to go to cells, so there’s already that adversarial relationship set up.”

Since the woman’s arrest, Yellowknife has funded an outreach program to get drunk or vulnerable men and women off the street and to a safe place, either a home or a shelter.

“It’s based around the strain that calls about people who were intoxicated in the downtown core were putting on emergency services,” Denning said. “RCMP were seeing thousands of nights in cells a year.”

She said she’s not aware of that happening since the sobering centre was put in place.

“I think there’s been a lot of progress.”

— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. With files from Cabin Radio.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Eighty athletes compete at Biathlon BC Cup race in Quesnel

Two-day event at Hallis Lake features beginners, national-calibre racers and recreational athletes

Column: This and that for seniors in Quesnel

Regular Observer columnist Ruth Scoullar writes about what’s happening and shares some good advice

Forestry Hockey League Highlights: Week 17

Bear Communications and Fraser River GM notch key wins

British Columbia Rodeo Association releases tentative 2019 schedule

The BCRA season opens with the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo April 26-28, comes to Quesnel July 19-21

Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre wins $500 for Deeds Well Done

There were 28 nominations to the campaign in Quesnel

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Cariboo man pleads guilty to second degree murder in death of former girlfriend

Michael Martel admits to violent attack on Vesna Dumpstrey-Soos in 100 Mile House

Most Read