Kolola trial begins in Iqaluit with dispatch tapes
Testimony describes lead-up to Douglas Scott’s final call
Const. Douglas Scott stepped into the middle of a heated dispute between Pingoatuk Kolola and his common-law wife on Nov. 5, 2007, the night Scott was killed, an Iqaluit jury heard Monday.
Prosecutors opened their first-degree murder case against Kolola Monday afternoon with a series of recordings from the RCMP’s Iqaluit dispatch centre.
The 20-year old RCMP officer responded to a call from the Iqaluit dispatch at 10:54 p.m., after someone in Kimmirut phoned that night to complain about a drunk driver.
The dispatcher told Scott about the drunk driving complaint. The officer replied he’d head to Kimmirut’s Tusilik neighbourhood to check it out.
This would be the last time the Iqaluit dispatch service heard Scott’s voice.
“I’ll see if I can round him up,” Scott said. Scott’s parents, who travelled to Iqaluit for the trial from their home in Brockville, Ontario, wept as they heard their son’s voice.
Twenty-six minutes later, an Iqaluit dispatcher tried to reach Scott but heard no response. Two further attempts to reach him were unsuccessful
At 11:29, Iqaluit dispatch got a call from RCMP’s L Division in Prince Edward Island, where Scott’s co-worker, Sgt. Kevin Bailey, Scott’s co-worker, in Kimmirut on relief duty, was based. The PEI caller tells the dispatcher that he’s been told Scott has been shot in Kimmirut.
One minute later, Bailey phoned Iqaluit to say that two Kimmirut residents came to his house to report to him what had happened.
“The guy shot him twice in the head and Doug is dead,” Bailey told the dispatcher.
In the days leading up to the shooting, Kolola and his common-law wife, Ooleetua Judea, had been fighting over rumours he’d kissed his ex-wife. Kolola denied those rumours, and the couple engaged in a mostly silent standoff for several days, Judea said in her evidence. Kolola then went on a hunting trip.
Judea cried so much when she sat in the witness box, Justice Robert Kilpatrick calledl a short break to give her time to regain her composure.
The day after he returned from his hunting trip, Nov. 5, Judea said she told Kolola that she wanted to kick him out of house 202C, the home they shared with their son Adam, then eight months old, and that she had phoned the local housing authority to start the process.
Judea said Kolola drank a 375-ml bottle of vodka that she’d kept hidden from him. Judea said he warned her not to be around “when we find out who keeps the house.”
When his niece, Ooloosie Kolola, arrived to intervene, he warned her not to call the police.
Later, when Judea tried to leave the house, she said Pingoatuk Kolola dragged her by her coat back to the bedroom.
“What did he say? asked Crown lawyer Susanne Boucher.
After a long pause, Judea said she couldn’t remember. Boucher showed Judea a copy of the statement she made to police the day after Scott’s death to refresh her memory.
“He said if I get the cops involved, something bad was going to happen,” Judea said.
Later, Judea went to a cousin’s house. Kolola arrived there in a truck, accompanied by their child.
What followed was a harrowing chase through Kimmirut, with Judea on a snowmobile, chasing Kolola, as Kolola chased his niece Ooloosie.
Eventually, Kolola crashed his truck into a pile of construction materials not far from house 202C. That would be the spot where Scott was found dead.
During cross-examination, defence lawyer Andy Mahar suggested Judea was in shock when she made her statement to police.
“Do you clearly remember [Kolola] saying something about the police two times?” Mahar asked.
“I don’t remember,” Judea said.
And Judea admitted under cross-examination that Kolola told her he loved her and wanted to create a family with her and Adam. She said Kolola only became angry when she said she was trying to get him kicked out of their house.
“It should be me sitting there not him,” Judea said before breaking down in tears.
Earlier, Mahar tried to enter a guilty plea on the lesser charge of manslaughter, but the crown rejected the deal, saying the evidence points to a first-degree murder charge.
The trial started after selection of a jury of six men and six women was completed Monday morning. The court was able to find only seven eligible jurors in Kimmirut this past Friday failed to find enough jurors, so dozens of potential Iqaluit jurors were summonsed to the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit, where five more jurors were chosen.
The trial is set to continue through Feb. 23.