Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Iqaluit December 03, 2018 - 8:30 am

Iqaluit man found not guilty of assault causing bodily harm

“The use of force was in the protection of the woman he saw being assaulted”

BETH BROWN
An Iqaluit man has been found not guilty of two counts of assault causing bodily harm, after the judge concluded on Nov. 23 that the accused may have been acting in the reasonable defence of a woman being assault. (FILE PHOTO)
An Iqaluit man has been found not guilty of two counts of assault causing bodily harm, after the judge concluded on Nov. 23 that the accused may have been acting in the reasonable defence of a woman being assault. (FILE PHOTO)

An Iqaluit man is not guilty of two counts of assault causing bodily harm that he was charged with this summer, Nunavut Judge Paul Bychok said on Friday, Nov. 23, at the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Eelow Korgak, 40, was accused of stabbing a man and assaulting a woman on Aug. 11.

But Bychok said he found Korgak’s account of that night—in which the man said he used force to protect a woman being sexually assaulted—more credible than an account given by the other man involved, Lyta Josephie.

Josephie said Korgak stabbed him multiple times with a fork, after Josephie had consensual sex with a woman in the entryway of an Iqaluit residence. Korgak’s second charge was for an assault on that woman.

But Korgak’s account was that he found Josephie on top of the woman who lay “seemingly asleep in a pool of blood.” Korgak then pushed Josephie off the woman and punched him a few times.

“Someone is not telling the truth,” Bychok said.

The Crown didn’t provide enough evidence to refute Korgak’s testimony, and there were “significant discrepancies” in testimonies given by the RCMP over that middle of the night call, Bychok said.

Photos in evidence show the woman was naked from the waist down and had blood on her lower body and injuries on her face.

“It was clear the woman had been assaulted in the face,” but it was not clear if that assault could have been done by Korgak, Bychok said.

“In my view the only possible inference was that (the woman) was too intoxicated to be able to consent to any type of sexual activity. Therefore I do not believe Josephie’s claim that (the woman) was a willing sexual partner.”

It was also not clear if Josephie was stabbed at all, and if he was, that it was Korgak who did that assault, Bychok said. Police did not find a weapon at the residence and did not take photos of Josephie’s wounds. No medical records were obtained as evidence.

“We only have Josephie’s hearsay statement that he was stabbed,” Bychok said.

When the testimony of an accused raises reasonable doubt in the mind of a trial judge, then according to the Supreme Court of Canada that judge must rule the accused not guilty, Bychok said.

“Korgak’s version of what happened might reasonably be true. Korgak’s evidence has raised a doubt in my mind,” he said. “There were no internal inconsistencies. Korgak admitted to facts that did not paint him in a good light. He was not shaken in cross examination.”

Given that Korgak believed from past experience that Josephie could become violent, and as the Crown did not say otherwise, Bychok said he considered Korgak’s use of force was reasonable.

“The use of force was in the protection of the woman he saw being assaulted,” Bychok said.

Korgak’s sentence of 60 days for breaches, which include court orders to not consume alcohol, are covered by time he served in jail leading up to trial.

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