Cape Dorset murder trial finally underway in Nunavut court

Peter Kingwatsiak on trial in connection with death of step-brother, Mappalak Adla

By THOMAS ROHNER

RCMP lead Peter Kingwatsiak of Cape Dorset to an RCMP truck during a break on day one of his first-degree murder trial in Iqaluit June 22. Kingwatsiak is accused of killing his step-brother in a jealous rage. (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)


RCMP lead Peter Kingwatsiak of Cape Dorset to an RCMP truck during a break on day one of his first-degree murder trial in Iqaluit June 22. Kingwatsiak is accused of killing his step-brother in a jealous rage. (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)

Peter Kingwatsiak planned and deliberately murdered his step-brother in a jealous rage in 2010 — that’s what the Crown prosecutor will try to prove in a murder trial that got underway at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit June 22.

Kingwatsiak, 23, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Mappaluk Adla, 21, in an incident alleged to have taken place at Adla’s home on Sept. 20, 2010.

Kingwatsiak is also charged with one count of breaking and entering with intent to commit an indictable offence, in relation to an assault alleged to have occurred earlier that same night at the home of Kingwatsiak’s uncle.

In her opening remarks, Crown prosecutor Amy Porteous said the accused has admitted to many of the allegations made in this case, including causing the death of Adla by shooting him in the forehead at close range.

“The Crown seeks to prove that this was a murder that was planned and deliberate,” Porteous said.

Kingwatsiak has also admitted to slashing his uncle, Manu Kingwatsiak, across the face with a knife, not long before the shooting incident, Porteous said.

The question is whether the accused had lawful permission to enter his uncle’s house, Porteous said, adding that the Crown believes the accused was not welcome there.

During the judge-alone trial, presided over by Justice Bonnie Tulloch, the court will hear Crown evidence that Kingwatsiak was “fixated” on a girl he believed was involved with his step-brother, Porteous said.

The court will also hear evidence that Kingwatsiak, “seems to have talked about little else [other] than killing Mappaluk Adla in the days before he did so,” Porteous said.

In his opening statements, defence lawyer James Morton told Tulloch that he will argue his client, who is expected to testify later at trial, was intoxicated from sniffing gasoline and under considerable emotional stress at the time of shooting Adla.

“The question for you will be, did Peter Kingwatsiak, at the time, have the specific intent necessary for murder? Did he have the capacity for that, and if he did, did he act in a planned and deliberate fashion?” Morton said to Tulloch.

In addition to his client, Morton said he plans to call a pharmacologist as well as a psychologist to testify for the defence.

The Crown called Philip Klassen, a forensic psychiatrist, as its first witness on the morning of June 22.

Klassen began testifying about the accused’s state of mind on Sept. 20, 2012.

The trial is scheduled for five days but two witnesses from Cape Dorset, expected to testify today, have been delayed because of weather.

It is unclear if those delays will impact the trial’s current schedule.

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