Nunavut court: trial of Arviat man accused of sex charges against children continues
Crown, defence lawyers argue over accuracy of evidence given by witnesses
The first of two trials for an Arviat man who faces various sex charges against minors wrapped up April 15, with a defence lawyer attempting to poke holes in a child witness’s story.
Billy Iblauk, 28, is charged with sexual assault and touching a person under the age of 16 stemming from an October 2011 incident involving one complainant, who was eight years old at the time.
Iblauk is alleged to have snuck into the girl’s room and raped her in her bed.
Iblauk also faces nine other sex charges involving two minors, the subject of a different trial which also got under way April 15.
That second trial continues this week at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.
During cross-examination for the first case, defence lawyer Tamara Fairchild asked if the girl’s private parts hurt after the alleged incident with Iblauk.
The girl indicated no, they weren’t hurt, and no, she didn’t tell her mother about it.
But during the Crown’s examination of the girl April 14, the girl said the opposite — that after the incident, she did experience pain in her private parts.
The girl often answered the lawyer’s questions non-verbally, by raising her eyebrows for yes or scrunching up her nose for no.
The lawyers and court interpreters pointed out she sometimes gave mixed signals while being cross-examined in a separate room inside the Nunavut Court of Justice, away from the courtroom where Iblauk sat.
The girl also said yes to a question from Fairchild that suggested she didn’t remember some of the things that happened during the incident.
Crown prosecutor Priscilla Ferrazzi examined her third witness of the trial April 15 — the girl’s mother.
The mother explained that she heard from her eldest daughter — who was the first person the girl told about the incident — that Iblauk took off the girl’s clothes and played with her body.
When the defence lawyer questioned the mother, she said she was told that Iblauk took her clothes off, but that there was no penetration.
“I didn’t believe it. I thought he would never do that to my children,” the witness said.
The witness had to pause a few times throughout the proceedings to hold back tears and dab her face with a tissue.
Iblauk leaned back in his chair and looked down throughout the examination.
In final arguments before Justice Bonnie Tulloch, Fairchild pointed out inconsistencies in statements made by witnesses, including the girl.
Fairchild said it’s “inconceivable” that the girl’s sister, who was sleeping in the bedroom at the time of the alleged rape — possibly in the same bed — didn’t wake up.
Fairchild also said the girl doesn’t remember if Iblauk woke her up or not, and that there’s a lack of physical evidence that the eight-year-old had been raped by a grown man.
“It just defies common sense,” Fairchild said.
And the witnesses all had vague recollections of the date the incident occurred, Fairchild said.
Ferrazzi said, however, that even with weaknesses in some of the evidence, Iblauk did commit the crimes he’s charged with.
Whenever the girl was asked a question about the incident — whether in examination or when she gave a statement to RCMP members at the Arviat detachment in Nov. 2011 — she would spontaneously, and under her own power, give truthful answers, Ferrazzi said.
Tulloch said she will reserve her decision for the end of the week.