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

Chilliwack students learn about business and charity during entrepreneurship fair

Mt. Slesse Grade 8 kids will be donating 20 per cent of their business profits to the food bank

Work wrapping up in Chilliwack on the Valley Rail Trail expansion

The trail is envisioned as the north-south spine of a future cycling network

Chilliwack saw sub-tropical blast of warm air Wednesday

It didn’t break any official records but it was warmer than usual by several degrees

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

GW Graham wallops Ballenas Whalers in junior football playoff

Logan Buchwitz scored four touchdowns for the Grizzlies in a one-sided 40-0 win.

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

5 to start your day

BC Hydro says outages have tripled in the last five years, two men charged after alleged butter thefts and more

California wildfire death toll hits 63

Sheriff says hundreds still missing in nation’s deadliest wildfire

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Trudeau to meet key Pacific trade partners at APEC leaders’ summit

Canada became one of the first six countries to ratify the CPTPP

Judge orders White House to return press pass to CNN’s Acosta

U.S. District Court Judge will decide on White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta

WikiLeaks chief could see charges, US court filing suggests

Charges against Julian Assange could help illuminate the question of whether Russia co-ordinated with the Trump campaign

Federal MPs denounce controversial Facebook post targeting Sajjan

Okanagan Conservatives apologize for controversial Facebook post

Canada has enough pipelines to get the moon

Pipelines totalling 840,000 kilometres run across Canada

Most Read