Lawyers argue Pingoatuk Kolola’s murder conviction before Nunavut appeal court
Kolola found guilty in 2010 of first-degree murder of RCMP Const. Douglas Scott in 2007
A Kimmirut man sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of RCMP Cst. Douglas Scott is appealing his 2010 conviction.
The appeal follows the verdict of a 11-member jury who found Pingoatuk Kolola guilty March 11, 2010 in the 2007 killing of Scott in Kimmirut.
The Nunavut Court of Appeal heard submissions from defence lawyer Tom Boyd and Crown prosecutor Nicholas Devlin at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit Sept. 24.
Boyd told the three appeal judges that Justice Robert Kilpatrick had confused the jurors in the trial.
Boyd’s argument is that the jury placed the burden on the accused to prove his innocence, whereas the jury should have placed the burden on the Crown to prove that the accused was guilty.
That had been the judge’s fault for not giving proper instructions to the jury, Boyd said.
The defence also submitted that Kilpatrick did not go over one of the three main factors the jury should have considered before sentencing Kolola: that if the jury does not believe the Crown’s evidence, then the accused must be found not guilty.
Boyd maintained the judge also blurred this point with another point — that the jury has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty.
Boyd said that by blurring and effectively eliminating this point, this shortened the jury’s job. And Boyd said that if the evidence raised doubt, then Kolola should not have been found guilty.
However, Crown prosecutor Devlin maintained that the “judge explained very clearly to the jury that Mr. Kolola didn’t have to prove anything.”
“There’s no mistake made of how the jury was instructed,” Devlin said. “They knew what their job was, and went to do their job.”
The judges, Justices Frans Slatter, Constance Hunt, and Clifton O’Brien, have reserved their decision until a later date.
Devlin said that could take weeks or months.