Rankin Inlet man guilty of assaulting blacked-out woman
Jury finds victim was unable to consent to sex
A jury has found a Rankin Inlet man guilty of sexually assaulting a woman while she was too intoxicated to consent.
“She was in a blacked-out state and cannot remember what happened after she started drinking,” Nunavut judge Earl Johnson said in an analysis of the jury’s decision, released by the Nunavut Court of Justice on Wednesday, July 18.
The woman was later found abandoned on the roadside, and awoke from her blackout in a hospital in Winnipeg.
Lee Jordan Nauya admitted to police to having sex with the woman. In his testimony, Nauya maintained that the act was consensual.
“To arrive at the verdict, the jury had to conclude that she was so drunk that she was incapable of consenting even though she may have been conscious,” Johnson said.
The jury convicted Nauya on May 30.
Because juries do not provide reasons for their verdicts, Johnson released his own reason for judgement that includes submissions from the defence and Crown lawyers.
This information will inform Nauya’s sentencing.
On the day of the assault, drinking may have started behind the Northern Store in Rankin Inlet, where Nauya invited the woman to go and party at the nickel mine.
Nauya and another man are accused of then coercing the woman to drink alcohol—allegedly by holding her hands behind her back and forcing the liquor down her throat.
But there was no evidence to prove this happened beyond the complainant’s testimony, the court document said.
“I am satisfied that she did not want to drink any more when she got to the mine because she knew, from past experience, what alcohol did to her,” Johnson said, adding that the woman had been sober for many months.
“Once the effects of the alcohol started to kick in, the complainant lost control and she freely drank and partied with the accused until she ended up in a blackout state in a hospital in Winnipeg,” Johnson said.
The Crown acknowledged there was no evidence to show she was fully unconscious during the assault.
The defence submitted that “the jury had sufficient evidence to conclude that the complainant was too drunk to consent.”
Johnson called Nauya “opportunistic” but said evidence doesn’t support a Crown submission that the assault was premeditated.
The Crown also argued that leaving the woman on the side of the road showed “intention of evading criminal liability,” which could aggravate his sentence.
The defence said that while abandoning the woman was “unsavoury and disgraceful,” Nauya’s subsequent admission to police that he had sex with the woman leaves the court unable to say for sure that he was evading criminal liability.
Johnson’s decision said this “post-offence” action—leaving her on the side of the road—will not aggravate Nauya’s sentence.
“The complainant was a credible witness and the jury clearly accepted her evidence, over the accused, to come to the guilty verdict,” Johnson said.