Naqitarvik, who lived in Arctic Bay, attacked his 14-year-old cousin, tied her hands behind her back and forced her to have sexual intercourse with him. The two had had consensual sex previously. Naqitarvik ceased his actions when the victim's sister came into the room, and appears genuinely remorseful for his actions. The trial judge took the local Inumarit Committee counseling into consideration as an alternative to incarceration. He was sentenced to 90 days in prison (served intermittently), 2 years probation, and 100 hours of community service at trial. The Crown appealed on sentence.
- What emphasis should be given to local traditional treatment of criminals when deciding a sentence?
Sentence expanded to 18 months imprisonment.
Laycraft, writing for the majority, appreciates that the rehabilitation of the convicted is one of the most important goals in the sentencing process. Further, he acknowledges that the trial court judge had an advantage because he had a much better understanding of the local customs then the appeal court did. The trial court judge strongly considered rehabilitation and reintegration into society in his sentencing, which is why we considered the role of the Council of Elders in the community. Despite this, however, he decides that this is too serious of a crime to have such a short sentence imposed, and extends it to 18 months imprisonment.
Belzil, in the dissent, was very impressed with the Inumarit tradition of rehabilitating criminals, and states that cultural heritage should be respected and thus the original sentence was adequate.
The courts must take regional traditional standards into consideration when deciding upon a sentence, however when the crime is very serious sentences must still be adequately punishing.