Court briefs: Man guilty of sexual interference with foot

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A man is to be sentenced on Jan. 22 after being found guilty of sexual interference on an 11-year-old girl by using his foot.

A 34-year-old man was convicted in territorial court Thursday by judge Bernadette Schmaltz after a judge-alone trial that stretched out over two days.

Court heard from the victim who is now 14 years old via video from Edmonton. Yellowknifer has chosen not to name the offender to protect the identity of the victim, which is subject to a publication ban.

The victim testified that on Jan. 29, 2015 she was in a bedroom watching TV when the man – a relative — lifted her up, spun her around and threw her on the bed. She testified he “was looking at her weird” and was staring at her crotch while he mouthed the words “show me, show me.” She testified she was sitting cross-legged on the floor and tried to ignore the offender. That’s when she testified he rubbed her crotch area with his foot and big toe for about 10 seconds while looking down at her and smiling.

She testified that she was upset, uncomfortable and wanted to cry but she didn’t. She said she played dumb and continued to watch TV. She added the man looked and sounded drunk at the time.

The man then left the house, according to the girl’s testimony. She then told her mother who was working nearby what happened. The assailant was arrested by RCMP the next day.

After hearing testimony from both, Schmaltz said she believed the victim but not the accused.

“His evidence was self-serving. He was deliberately lying. His evidence had nothing to do with the truth,” Schmaltz said. “She did not waiver in her testimony. Whether he had his shoes on doesn’t cause me concern. I do believe the victim. I don’t believe him.”

Despite the conviction, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail, and a criminal record dating back to 2003, the man was not taken into custody. He remains free at least until his January court appearance. The judge ordered a pre-sentencing report be completed before handing down her sentence.

Habitual burglar released from custody

Despite pleading guilty to eight break, enter and theft-related charges, a Yellowknife man has been freed from custody at the North Slave Correctional Centre.

Thomas Avery, 35, was admitted to Wellness Court on Thursday. Wellness Court serves as an alternative court, designed to help people with non-violent offences remain out of jail. One of the requirements for admission to the program is that the offender plead guilty to the charges. Once they are admitted they then undergo counselling which often centres around drug and alcohol abuse.

Avery was arrested and charged Oct. 3, after the theft of a cellphone from the Ruth Inch Memorial Pool and break-ins to a downtown restaurant where cash was stolen and an office downtown where a laptop computer and a camera were stolen. Avery has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2001.

Woman gets suspended sentence for beating child

A woman has been spared a criminal record after she pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon for beating her 12-year-old daughter with a coat hanger and a hair straightening iron.

Yellowknifer has chosen not to name the offender because she was given a suspended sentence by judge Bernadette Schmaltz in territorial court on Thursday.

Court heard on Dec. 7, 2015 the mother and daughter were in Grande Prairie, Alta., when the youngster was beaten when her mother went to wake her. She was hit several times with the hanger and the hair straightener leaving her in hospital with bruises to her arms, legs, chest and back. The woman had no previous criminal convictions. The mother does not currently live with her daughter but Schmaltz said she would not rule that the two could not have contact with each other.

Schmaltz also gave the woman 18 months probation and 180 hours of community service.

“I believe, and I hope I’m right, that your behaviour that day was out of character. You have to make sure you have control of things,” Schmaltz told the woman. “Violence toward children will not be tolerated, especially from a person in a position of trust.”

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