Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit June 23, 2017 - 8:00 am

Nunavut capital ponders settlement over Safety Act charges

City of Iqaluit and three employees may enter pleas at next court date, July 19

STEVE DUCHARME
The City of Iqaluit, and three employees, are considering a settlement deal in a case involving Safety Act breaches from April 2016. (FILE PHOTO)
The City of Iqaluit, and three employees, are considering a settlement deal in a case involving Safety Act breaches from April 2016. (FILE PHOTO)

The City of Iqaluit and three of its employees will spend the next few weeks pondering a settlement offer for numerous alleged violations of Nunavut’s Safety Act, stemming from an accident that nearly killed a city employee last year.

Teresa Haykowski, an Edmonton-based lawyer representing the City of Iqaluit, as well as co-accused city employees Keith Baines, Ben Kovic Jr. and Joseph Brown, told Nunavut Justice Bonnie Tulloch that a settlement offer for a dozen Safety Act infractions was sent by prosecutors on June 13.

“We are continuing our discussions,” she told the court via a telephone conference call, June 22 at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.

Lawyers seemed to suggest that the settlement would involve the City of Iqaluit or its employees, or both, pleading guilty to at least some of the alleged charges.

Tulloch set a date for the accused parties possibly to enter their pleas on July 19.

Depending on whether the settlement is accepted, further court dates would be scheduled after that point for either a trial or sentencing, Tulloch explained to court clerks.

Charges were laid against the City of Iqaluit, supervisor Baines and employee Kovic Jr. in January, after James Dorrington, another municipal employee, was nearly crushed to death after being run over by a garbage truck last April.

Dorrington’s injuries were serious enough to warrant his immediate medevac to Ottawa for emergency surgery.

The Safety Act charges stem from an investigation of city documents confiscated by the Workers Safety and Compensation Commission, after a Nunavut Justice of the Peace granted the commission a warrant to search municipal offices last November.

Three additional charges were then laid against Joseph Brown, another municipal employee, in April.

Baines and Kovic Jr. have regularly attended nearly all court proceeding and were again sitting in the court gallery on June 22.

But Baines told Tulloch that Brown has moved back to his home province of Newfoundland since he was charged.

Tulloch stressed that all accused will need to be present in the court, or attend via telephone, when the court learns the outcome of the settlement deal, July 19.

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