Nunavut court to give Cape Dorset man’s manslaughter sentence this fall
Killing occurred during October 2010 shooting rampage
The people of Cape Dorset will wait until at least early September for the sentencing of Elee Geetah, 23, who earlier this year was found guilty of manslaughter in the Oct. 10, 2010 killing of Jamesie Simigak, Geetah’s 23-year-old brother.
Justice Neil Sharkey said in court July 18 that he needs more time to finish editing his written reasons for the manslaughter verdict, which lawyers confirmed to Nunatsiaq News earlier this year.
Sharkey said he will not give an oral judgment in court, but will release his written reasons on the week of Aug. 11, with copies going to lawyers and to the media.
Also on Aug. 11, lawyers will appear in court to set a sentencing date for Geetah in Cape Dorset.
Sharkey said the court hopes to send a one-day charter to Cape Dorset some time during the week of Sept. 8, when he will sentence Geetah before the community.
By then, lawyers are also expected to work out agreements on a long list of other charges that were laid against Geetah in connection with incidents alleged to have occurred on the day Simigak died.
Lawyers agreed that it’s important that the people of Cape Dorset hear the sentence for themselves.
“Obviously, this sentence is of very great importance to the community,” said defence lawyer James Morton, who participated in the July 10 hearing by telephone.
Police charged Geetah, who was then only 19, with second degree murder in October 2010 following a wild incident in Cape Dorset that involved about 20 RCMP members.
On Oct. 10, 2010, local RCMP members, an emergency response team from Iqaluit and an RCMP negotiator responded to an armed standoff in which a man went on a shooting rampage throughout the community and barricaded himself inside a housing unit.
After the man gave himself up, police found Jamesie Simigak’s dead body inside the house.
They also found a bullet lodged in the bathroom of an RCMP staff housing unit, where the family of one RCMP member had just arrived home for a Thanksgiving dinner.
That incident was part of a long string of homicides, suicide attempts and shooting sprees that rocked Cape Dorset throughout the summer and fall of 2010 and produced national headlines.
Afterwards, the Chief Superintendent of Nunavut’s RCMP division, Steven McVarnock, granted a health break to all four members of Cape Dorset’s RCMP detachment.
On top of the murder count, police charged Geetah with five counts of discharging a firearm with intent, one count of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, three counts of mischief not exceeding $5,000, one count of pointing a firearm, one count of discharging a firearm in a reckless manner and one count of assault.
Following a trial held Dec. 10 to Dec. 12 on the second degree murder charge, Sharkey found Geetah guilty of manslaughter.
Manslaughter is an unlawful killing where there is no intent to kill. When a firearm is used in a killing, the mandatory minimum sentence is four years in prison and the maximum sentence is life.
No verdicts have yet been issued on any of the other charges that Geetah faces.