Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut February 25, 2013 - 6:06 am

“Good prospect for rehabilitation,” Nunavut man gets probation for Xmas Day assault

“It was never his intention to strike the victim”

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

A Nunavut man considered to be a “good prospect for rehabilitation” was sentenced to nine months of time served in remand plus two years probation for accidentally injuring his spouse with a tire iron.

Joe Kablutsiak, now 47, pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated assault in an incident that occurred Dec. 25, 2011.

During an argument in their shed, Kablutsiak threw a tire iron at his wife in an attempt to scare her into leaving.

But the tire iron bounced off a wall and hit her head, producing a skull fracture as well as nasal and facial fractures.

In a panic, Kablutsiak called the nursing station. The woman was medevaced to Winnipeg, where she received surgical care that eventually produced a full recovery.

“It was never his intention to strike the victim; it was his intention to scare her to make her leave. This is not in dispute,” Justice Sue Cooper said in a judgment issued Feb. 22.

While the Crown asked for a sentence of two years less a day in prison, the defence lawyer asked for either 90 days in jail, plus probation, or time served plus probation.

Cooper took note of the effort that Kablutsiak put into finding help for his problems during the time he spent in custody waiting for the court to deal with the charge.

While on remand at Baffin Correctional Ccentre, Kablutsiak did the following:

• finished a program called “Alternatives to Violence;”

• finished a program called “Grief and Loss;”

• acted as chair at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

And while released on bail, Kablutsiak did the following:

• continued to attend AA meetings;

• attended the men’s group in Rankin Inlet;

• began going to church;

• started raising a dog team and plans to bring the dogs back to his home community;

• worked full-time and sent most of his money home to his family.

“Mr. Kablutsiak has taken considerable steps to address his drinking and the issues that lead him to drink. In addition to his involvement with AA, which has been discussed, he has dealt with his longstanding anger towards his father,” Cooper said.

Cooper also said Kablutsiak and his wife have been together for 27 years and provide a good home for their children.

“They have been equal partners in the running of the household and the raising of their children. This is not a relationship where the husband is controlling or habitually abusive to his wife. The couple enjoyed 24 years together without incident,” Cooper’s judgment said.

He has a heavy equipment operator’s licence, “other very marketable skills,” and an “impressive work record” with a private construction firm and the hamlet, Cooper said.

In 2009, after his mother died, Kablutsiak began to drink. This led to a conviction for assault, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, involving the same victim.

But Cooper said the work that Kablutsiak did while awaiting trial suggests he now has insight into his drinking problem.

“I am advised that his involvement with AA provided him with great insight into the issues relating to his drinking and that his commitment to AA is sincere. I accept that this is the case,” Cooper said.

And she said that because of the emotional issues the lie behind the man’s drinking problem and his long relationship with his spouse, which she described as “loving, mutually respectful and supportive,” a lengthy prison sentence is not required as a deterrent.

“There is a good prospect for rehabilitation, if it has not already been achieved,” she said.

She sentenced Kablutsiak to time already served, which she calculated as the equivalent of nine months in jail, plus a two-year probation order.

The terms of the probation order include:

• counselling as directed by a probation officer;

• total abstention from the possession and consumption of alcohol;

• an order to not reside with his victim for the first three months of his probation, though he may have contact with her;

• an order not to be in the presence of his victim if she is under the influence of alcohol;

• an order to stay from her for 24 hours when requested by the RCMP;

• an order to perform 150 hours of community service work, which Cooper recommends by done for the benefit of safe houses in the community.

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