Nunavut court postpones sentence hearing for convicted spouse-killer
Court must set VanEindhoven’s period of parole ineligibility
Justice Earl Johnson of the Nunavut Court of Justice has adjourned a sentencing hearing for convicted murderer Adrian VanEindhoven until this December possibly.
An Iqaluit jury found VanEindhoven guilty Oct. 15 of second degree murder in connection with the 2004 death of his common-law spouse, 22-year-old Leanne Irkotee in Rankin Inlet.
That conviction carries a mandatory life prison sentence. The only remaining issue for Johnson to decide is how long VanEindhoven must wait before being eligible to apply for parole.
Crown prosecutor Nick Devlin said in court Oct. 16 that because of the nature of VanEindhoven’s crime, the Crown needs time to compile evidence from what was heard during VanEindhoven’s recent trial, and at a previous trial held in 2006.
Devlin said he needs time to produce evidence alleging that VanEindhoven held a knife to Irkotee prior to the incident that killed her.
He also said he wants to bring out evidence on the abuse that Irkotee suffered during their relationship.
And Devlin said there is evidence that VanEindhoven had threatened a previous partner with death.
Devlin said all this evidence is not new. But he said he needs time to call witnesses in Rankin Inlet to arrange their availability for the sentencing hearing.
But defence lawyer Laura Stevens said she wants the sentencing to take place immediately, saying VanEindhoven has already served a “tremendous” amount of remand time in custody.
VanEindhoven has been held in various forms of custody since Irkotee’s death in 2004.
Stevens also said that until his sentencing, VanEindhoven will have to stay at the Baffin Correctional Centre — instead of a federal penitentiary — and that BCC is badly overcrowded.
Devlin said he would seek a period of parole ineligibility greater than 12 years and Stevens said she will seek no more than 12 years.
For their part, the 12-member jury recommended a maximum parole ineligibility period of 25 years.
Convictions of second-degree murder carry a mandatory penalty of life imprisonment with a minimum parole ineligibility period of 10 years.
Devlin said it’s important to allow time for the sentencing hearing because domestic violence is one of the most serious problems in Nunavut, calling it an “epidemic.”
VanEindhoven traded his black-striped collared shirt for the standard prison-issued blue sweatpants and a blue sweatshirt Oct. 16. He wore the sweater inside out with the clothing tag exposed on the back of the collar.
Lawyers will speak to the matter Oct. 29 to confirm dates for sentencing.
Johnson has tentatively set aside Dec. 6 and Dec. 9 for the sentence hearing.
In an earlier trial, VanEindhoven was also found guilty of killing Irkotee in 2007 and sentenced by Justice Robert Kilpatrick.
But that conviction was overturned in 2012 by the Nunavut Court of Appeal, which ordered a new trial for VanEindhoven.
To prevent Iqaluit jurors sitting at the new trial from becoming biased by any knowledge of the earlier trial, the Nunavut court, this past September, imposed a strict ban on publication of any information flowing from those earlier court processes — until the end of VanEindhoven’s trial.
Also on Oct. 15, Johnson rejected a request from Stevens that he declare a mistrial, after she complained the Crown said things to the jury that in her opinion were improper.