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

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

Archaeologist monitoring building work on Tsawout First Nation amid burial ground concerns

Some in community claim construction has potentially disturbed historic graves, contractor disagrees

Mental health walk/run aims to outpace depression

Walk increased to 5k, run to 10k

Parishioners bear the weight of a large wooden cross on Good Friday

Good Friday Passion Procession winds through streets of Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read