COURT BRIEFS: Man pleads guilty to trafficking four years after arrest


William Simpson, 56, pleaded guilty Monday to possessing for the purpose of trafficking cocaine and marijuana.

The charges, and subsequent convictions following his guilty pleas, stem from William’s arrest more than four years ago.

In February of 2014, media reported fire crews were called to Simpson’s downtown apartment unit, where they found a large quantity of drugs.

Simpson and a co-accused, Richard Shushac, went to trial after being charged with trafficking, but a mistrial was declared in November after a third fingerprint was found on the seized drugs, according to media reports.

Shushac’s case is set for a jury trial this summer.

Williams, who isn’t in custody, will return to NWT Supreme Court on Sept. 17 for a facts and sentencing hearing.

Mantla to be sentenced July 3

Convicted killer Kevin Mantla will be sentenced on July 3 following a court appearance via video on Monday.

Last week, Justice Louise Charbonneau found Mantla, 38, guilty of second-degree murder and attempted murder in a 2015 attack that claimed the life of Elvis Lafferty and seriously injured Mantla’s ex-girlfriend.

Charbonneau ruled there was enough evidence – presented by the Crown during a three-week trial that ended in February – to prove Mantla perpetrated a bloody stabbing at a Lanky Court apartment unit on Sept, 28, 2015, and that he intended to kill both Lafferty and his ex-girlfriend, who was in a relationship with Lafferty at the time.

But Charbonneau said the Crown couldn’t prove Mantla had planned the attack, meaning he couldn’t be convicted of first-degree murder – an offence designated for premeditated killings.

Mantla faces a life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.

Man pleads guilty to gun charges

A Yellowknife man who was arrested last year after a traffic stop yielded restricted guns pleaded guilty to a number of firearm-related offences in NWT Supreme Court.

Michael Taylor, 28, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of transporting restricted firearms without proper storage, one count of possessing a weapon obtained by commission of offence and one count of possessing a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition.

It’s alleged that in February 2017, five handguns were located in the Honda Civic that Taylor and another passenger were driving in after they were pulled over near the hamlet of Enterprise.

In March 2017, Yellowknifer reported the police seizure included three handguns reported stolen from a Range Lake area just hours before the stop.

At the time, RCMP Const. Matt Halstead said the guns were not loaded but that ammunition found in the vehicle was “readily available.”

Taylor is due back in court for a facts and sentencing hearing on July 6.

Man gets intermittent sentence for string of domestic assaults

A Yellowknife man was handed a 120-day sentence for a series of assaults on his common-law partner.

The 48-year-old man, who isn’t being named by Yellowknifer to protect the identity of the victim, was handed 60 days for one count of assault and 45 days for a second count.

He earned another 15 days after being convicted on one count of mischief.

The court heard the man assaulted his partner a number of times between May and November of last year in Yellowknife.

On one occasion, the court heard, the defendant slapped and kicked the victim. During another assault, the man destroyed the woman’s cell phone and broke her glasses.

With credit for time already served in custody – 48 days – the man will serve a 72-day intermittent sentence, meaning he’ll serve time during weekends.

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As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility to be there - day or night, rain or shine. When I’m not at court gathering stories, I’m in the office, making calls to lawyers, emailing RCMP and tracking down sources. After hours, I rely on the public to let me know what’s happening and where. Entering my second winter in Yellowknife since leaving my hometown of Peterborough, Ont., in October 2017, everyday on this beat continues to be challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. Got a story? Call me at (867) 766-8288 or shoot me an email at