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Editor’s note: Some readers may find this story disturbing due to graphic details of violence. 

A Nunavut man who pleaded guilty to attempted murder after a vicious repeated stabbing of his victim has been sentenced to a total of seven years in prison for his crime.

“The court further hopes for your sake and the sake of others that when you are released from custody you never hurt another person again.” Justice Christian Lyons told a man who attempted to murder a teenaged boy with a hunting knife.
NNSL file photo

Aamusie Charlie Qaqasiq used a hunting knife to attack a teenaged grocery store worker in May 2018. The victim in the unidentified “small community” suffered 15 stab wounds to the upper body. He was medevac’d to Iqaluit where he received numerous stitches and underwent surgery. He spent three weeks recovering in the hospital. Pain, muscle aches and scarring remained long after the attack. He’s coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to his parents. However, he has graduated high school and is working.

During a psychiatric assessment, Qaqasiq said he used drugs prior to committing the attack and was “stoned.”

“He said that at the time he knew it was wrong to stab someone. When asked why he did it he said he didn’t know, and there was no reason, he guessed,” the Oct. 27 court decision reads. “When asked about how he felt about the attack he said, ‘I feel sorry for the guy. I feel sorry about stabbing him.’ He said he was disgusted with himself and couldn’t believe he did what he did.”

Qaqasiq was raised primarily by his grandparents. His mother lives in Yellowknife and has not been a part of his life since age two. His father has a “significant and violent criminal history” and spent much time in jail while Aamusie was growing up.

“His grandmother described him as a good boy, but she said that he started to get in trouble when he was 17 or 18 years old. It was at this time he began smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol and doing other drugs,” the court decision states.

While intoxicated, he was known to become aggressive and violent, such as chasing people with a machete. Despite this, he had no prior criminal convictions.

Due to bizarre behaviour, paranoia, hallucinations and psychotic episodes, Qaqasiq was periodically admitted to the hospital between 2016-2018 and was prescribed a variety of psychiatric medications. Although he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2016, medical experts disagree about the cause of his mental illness, with one psychiatrist concluding that his extensive abuse of drugs was likely behind his psychotic episodes.

Judge Christian Lyons determined that this case involved the clear intent to kill.

“Given the severity of Aamusie’s offence, the protection of society is paramount, and a lengthy custodial sentence is required,” Lyons wrote. “This is one of the most disturbing cases of violence that has come before me as a judge in Nunavut.”

Although Lyons sided with the Crown’s recommendation of seven years in jail, the sentence could have been much lengthier, the judge acknowledged.

Qaqasiq is credited with 1,386 days for time served in jail prior to his sentencing, leaving him with approximately 3 years and 3 months of incarceration.

“Aamusie, you committed one of the most serious offences in criminal law and are now facing the consequences,” Lyons told the offender. “The court appreciates that you took responsibility for your crime via your guilty plea and was pleased to hear that you have completed an anger management and substance abuse program while in custody. The court hopes that you can continue to get the help you need for whatever issues you may have while you serve the remainder of your jail sentence. The court further hopes for your sake and the sake of others that when you are released from custody you never hurt another person again.”

 

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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