Iqaluit man to plead guilty to March 1 cop assault
Tiivi Qiatsuk expected back in court Oct. 17 for sentencing submissions
An Iqaluit resident charged in relation to a March 1 shooting incident, which involved Iqaluit RCMP members, in the Q block student housing area near Arctic College is set to enter guilty pleas Oct. 17 to two charges.
Tiivi Qiatsuk is now charged with just two of the original nine-counts contained in an indictment.
The remaining charges include assaulting Cst. Jacob MacKenzie and Cpl. Yvonne Niego using a rifle, and a charge of being in possession of a weapon dangerous to the public.
Police responded to a call at 1:40 a.m. this past March 1, where they found an intoxicated man brandishing a firearm “who then discharged it,” an RCMP news release said.
The man later surrendered peacefully to police at about 5:30 a.m. No one was hurt in the incident.
Qiatsuk has been remanded to custody since his arrest.
A trial had been scheduled for Oct. 15, but last minute talks between defense council Scott Wheildon and Crown prosecutor Amy Porteous led to a delay in proceedings.
Porteous had not been expecting those talks, but said she was pleased with the development.
“I had some indication that it might occur. We were in negotiations, not particularly active ones, but there had been some talk about a potential plea, so it didn’t come as a total surprise,” Porteous said. “I think most likely everyone is [happy]. There’s a lot more certainty involved when you can go forward with the guilty plea. You are not taking the chance with a trial. where you don’t know exactly what to expect.”
That’s because new evidence can unexpectedly emerge in a trial, and “you can never be certain what a judge is going to do,” she said.
Six of the other counts against Qiatsuk are conditionally stayed.
“They are essentially put on hold. They can be revived in the unlikely event that within a year the Crown’s office decides to proceed with them,” said Porteous.
One of the charges has been withdrawn.
As for a sentence, Porteous said she does have one in mind, but would not reveal her position.
Qiatsuk appeared before court Oct. 15 wearing a dark blue dress shirt and a blue, black and silver striped tie. His remained emotionless throughout the proceeding.
He’s expected back in court for the sentencing submissions Oct. 17.
Justice Earl Johnson is expected to issue a sentencing decision Oct. 18.