Crown stays spousal assault charge against Nunavut MLA Schell
MLAs spouse already convicted of assaulting him
South Baffin MLA Fred Schell, 60, has been effectively cleared of an assault charge laid April 10 in an incident involving his common-law spouse, 29-year-old Ezevallu Qatsiya.
Speaking Dec. 3 at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit, Crown prosecutor Barry McLaren told the court that Qatsiya’s story about what took place that night in April was “inconsistent.”
That meant the charge is now stayed, which means the charge is dropped — but if more evidence comes to within one year, it can theoretically be prosecuted.
A trial scheduled for January on the matter is now cancelled.
Neither Schell nor Qatsiya turned up in court Dec. 3.
Qatsiya pleaded guilty Nov, 19 to assaulting Schell in connection with the same April 10 incident.
On April 10 at 2:24 a.m., Qatsiya, while intoxicated, spoke loudly on the telephone in the early morning while Schell attempted to sleep, an agreed statement of facts said.
This woke him up and Schell angrily got into a shouting match with Qatsiya. Schell eventually took Qatsiya’s bottle of liquor and poured it down the sink.
Qatsiya then bit Schell on his bicep, leaving a scar. Schell pushed her away.
Police showed up at their Iqaluit house later that day and they were each charged with one count of common assault.
Qatsiya and Schell share two children, aged two and 18 months, both of whom were in the house at the time of the fight.
The two appeared Nov. 19 at the Nunavut Court of Justice, where they sat together for up to six hours before Qatsiya’s matter was spoken to.
Justice Robert Kilpatrick gave Qatsiya a stern warning that day, saying she “came very close” to being charged with an indictable offense.
This was the third time Qatsiya had assaulted Schell in the past five years.
Kilpatrick also gave a list of conditions Qatsiya has to legally follow — mostly concerning the consumption of alcohol — and sentenced Qatsiya to a day in custody, which was deemed served during her court appearance.
Schell now sits as a regular MLA.
That’s after resigning as minister at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly Nov. 5.
Schell was the subject of an ethics review and sat as a minister without a portfolio for eight months before Nunavut’s integrity commissioner, Norman Pickell found in a lengthy report that Schell breached the Integrity Act six times.