Final arguments in Nunavut murder case adjourned to October

Peter Kingwatsiak on trial for killing his step-brother Mappaluk Adla in 2010

By THOMAS ROHNER

Peter Kingwatsiak is lead into the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit in June 2015. (FILE PHOTO)


Peter Kingwatsiak is lead into the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit in June 2015. (FILE PHOTO)

Lawyers were supposed to gather at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit to present final arguments in the first-degree murder trial of Peter Kingwatsiak Aug. 27, but instead of going ahead, Justice Bonnie Tulloch has put the matter over to October.

Crown prosecutor Amy Porteous and defence lawyer James Morton have been busy lately with the trial of Sanikiluaq teacher Johnny Meeko, charged with 32 historic sex crimes, and those proceedings only wrapped up Aug 24.

Kingwatsiak is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the 2010 death of his step-brother Mappaluk Adla, 21, in Cape Dorset.

Tulloch rescheduled final arguments for Oct. 16 to give the lawyers more time to prepare their final statements to the court and revise an agreed statement of facts.

“Are you in agreement with the adjournment?” Tulloch asked Morton, Kingwatsiak’s defence lawyer, Aug. 27.

“Yes, your honour,” Morton replied over the phone.

Kingwatsiak, who did not appear in court Aug. 27, has already admitted to killing his step-brother on Sept. 20, 2010, by shooting Adla in the forehead from close range.

In addition to the first-degree murder charge, Kingwatsiak faces two other charges: one count of aggravated assault for slashing his uncle in the face with a hunting knife on the same night Kingwatsiak shot and killed Adla; and one count of breaking and entering into his uncle’s house.

Kingwatsiak has also admitted to attacking his uncle with a knife in the early morning of Sept. 20, 2010.

But during the first five days of his judge-alone trial, Kingwatsiak testified that he had sniffed so much gasoline that night that he experienced blackouts and doesn’t actually remember attacking either his uncle or his step-brother.

Final arguments, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 16, will focus on whether Kingwatsiak was capable of understanding what he was doing, and the consequences of his actions, on the night of Sept. 20

During his trial, Crown witnesses testified that Kingwatsiak likely killed Adla while in a state of jealous rage at Adla’s involvement with Kingwatsiak’s ex-girlfriend.

Lawyers on both sides had submitted an agreed statement of facts before the trial began June 22.

But crown prosecutor Amy Porteous told Tulloch Aug. 27 that some amendments would need to be made to that statement because of changes in evidence given by Crown witnesses during the trial.

“There are certainly a few changes that we will need to make to the agreed statement of facts, and I don’t anticipate those being difficult to work out,” Porteous said.

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