Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut December 12, 2012 - 6:06 am

Makpah preliminary hearing moves ahead after eight-month adjournment

Proceedings go forward with beefed-up security

DAVID MURPHY

A big preliminary hearing for a man charged with manslaughter in Rankin Inlet got under way Dec. 11 in Iqaluit under the tightest security the Nunavut Court of Justice has ever seen. 

Colin Makpah, 28, along with Abraham Nakoolak, 28, is charged in the stabbing death of Donald James (D.J.) Gamble,  of Rankin Inlet.

Gamble, 23, died of stab wounds Aug. 14 2010.

The preliminary hearing first began this past March 26, however Justice Robert Kilpatrick halted proceedings due to a lack of security in the courtroom, and demanded changes.

“The courtroom, of course, is often a difficult and a volatile environment. This is particularly true in proceedings involving homicides where the family of the deceased can be expected to attend,” Kilpatrick said in a statement..

After restarting the hearing later in March and early April, Kilpatrick adjourned the matter again to allow for beefed up security at the courthouse — and changes appear to have been made. 

Courtroom sheriffs are now equipped with pepper spray, handcuffs, batons, bulletproof vests and fancy dark-blue uniforms.

Before, Nunavut sheriffs only wore black clothing, and were equipped with walkie-talkies.

The changes come in the wake of Nunavut MLA’s passing an amendment to the Judicature Act June 8 at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly. 

All security guards received training on the new equipment from the British Columbia Justice Institute, which is regarded as the best training centre in Canada for safety in courtrooms.

For the Makpah preliminary hearing, all witnesses and family members were screened by a temporary metal detector before entering the courtroom Dec. 11.

A group of D.J. Gamble’s family and friends members sat in the court room, bundled up in parkas.

The hearing started a day late because Justice Andrew Mahar could not fly into Iqaluit due to blizzard conditions.

Makpah, who is released on bail, did not attend the Dec. 11 hearing, also because of a weather delay. He was expected to land in Iqaluit later in the evening of Dec. 11.

Defense and Crown lawyers are expect to complete the preliminary hearing by Monday Dec. 17.

Evidence given at preliminary hearings may not be published or broadcasted.

 

 

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