A drunken attack with a metal rod could have ended in more serious consequences than just the victim’s resulting four stitches. 

That’s according to the NWT judge who sentenced Jonathan Zoe Chocolate to two months house arrest for clubbing Clifford James Schaefer over the head with a metal pole. 

Chocolate and Schaefer were drinking in a Fort Smith residence with a third friend, when Chocolate became violent and struck Schaefer with the pole three times. 

Jonathan Zoe Chocolate will serve a two month conditional sentence for an assault with an aluminum rod. NNSL file photo.

The assault weapon was described by defence lawyer Stephanie Whitecloud-Brass as comparable to a tent pole. 

The victim needed four stitches but Territorial Court judge Donovan Molloy said it could have been much worse. 

“You’re lucky because the victim only suffered relatively minor injuries,” Molloy told Chocolate. The judge noted recent manslaughter cases that have appeared before the Yellowknife court where an intoxicated assault led to the victim’s death

“When you choose to strike anyone, there’s a possibility they suffer greater, sometimes even fatal, injury,” he said. 

Chocolate is a 28-year-old Tlicho man from Behchoko, though he grew up primarily in N’dilo. 

Whitecloud-Brass told the court Chocolate completed his education up until Grade 10, at which point “it was just easier to start working.”

Chocolate is a heavy equipment operator with an additional certification to work on vehicles. He was a Jiffy Lube employee for six years and works as an IP technician at Aurora Geosciences Ltd. Whitecloud-Brass told the court Chocolate takes pride in supporting his seven-year-old son. 

The two-month sentence was a joint submission intended to act as a “short, sharp jail sentence to address the needs of denunciation and deterrence,” Crown prosecutor Jacqueline Halliburn said. She told the court the offence seemed to be out of character for Chocolate as he is not someone who normally “gets into trouble.”

Chocolate admitted he was intoxicated and said he “should never have let things escalate.”

“I’m sorry this happened and it won’t happen again.”  


Natalie Pressman

Natalie is a graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program. She has since held contracts working with an NGO in Vietnam and with Journalists for Human Rights in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent...

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