Cape Dorset man jailed for blood-soaked mêlée

Man stabs sister’s common-law husband, takes bath, passes out

By GABRIEL ZARATE

The Nunavut Court of Justice heard a chilling recording July 8 of a phone call that a Cape Dorset woman made in 2008 as her brother repeatedly knifed her common-law husband only metres away from her.

“I’ll kill you!” shouted David Mikkigak as he attacked Ashevak Qavavau.

“Help! Help!” Mikkigak’s sister Kunu Mathewsie screamed at the same time. “Knife! Knife! [house number] 282 right now right now!”

Another male voice was audible, screaming without words.

Mikkigak will spend a total of 27 months in jail for convictions on several assaults he committed that night, Dec. 18, 2008.

The evening started with a visit to the home of Davie Simigak, who was hosting a night of cards and drinks.

Mikkigak arrived after midnight, uninvited, but he was fine initially. But he soon got drunk and aggressive and Simigak tried to escort him out.

Mikkigak threw the first punch, and a fight broke out between the two men. Mikkigak got a bloody nose and lost his shirt.

As he left, Mikkigak said he was going to get a rifle and come back.

The party-goers called the police, but Mikkigak did not return.

When Mikkigak got home drunk, bloodied and shirtless, his sister Kunu Mathewsie wouldn’t let him in. She had been drinking with her mother, Kumoatuk Mathewsie.

But eventually Kumoatuk told Kunu to let him in.

Mikkigak attacked them both, at which point Qavavau intervened to defend his spouse, wrestling Mikkigak to the ground and holding him there until he seemed to calm down.

But as soon as Qavavau released him, Mikkigak ran to the kitchen and returned with a knife.

Qavavau attempted to defend himself with a hockey stick, but Mikkigak stabbed him three times: once in the head, once in the back and once in the shoulder — while Kunu was on the phone with an RCMP dispatcher.

Then Mikkigak went to the bathroom, took a bath, left the knife in the toilet and went to bed, where RCMP found him and arrested him.

Fortunately there was a doctor in Cape Dorset at the time so Qavavau’s wounds got immediate treated and he didn’t need require medevac.

“There was a good deal of blood in the attack,” said Crown prosecutor Leo Lane.

Mikkigak pleaded guilty to three counts of assault, one aggravated assault and one breach of undertaking for drinking when he wasn’t supposed to.

In return for his guilty plea, the Crown stayed a charges of attempted murder and uttering threats that Mikkigak also faced.

Justice Robert Kilpatrick agreed to Mikkigak’s plea-bargain and the sentencing deal that Crown and defence lawyers negotiated.

Kunu and Kumoatuk Mathewsie attended court — having travelled from Cape Dorset — to support Mikkigak and the sentence the lawyers proposed.

Mikkigak’s total sentence amounted to four years, but he got two-for-one credit for the 19 months he spent in the Baffin Correctional Centre waiting for his case to be dealt with in court.

This means he has nine months of incarceration left to serve.

Two-for-one credit is no longer available for more recent crimes, due to recent changes in the Criminal Code of Canada.

Mikkigak has a long history of violent criminal behavior, with 42 criminal convictions since he turned 18, including more than a dozen assaults.

After his nine months are up, Mikkigak faces 18 months of probation, including mandatory alcohol addiction treatment.

“I’m very sorry for what I have done,” Mikkigak told the court. “These has taught me a lot like not to drink because it can affect my memory and it’s no good for me… This time I will prove it to you guys [the court] that I will never face you guys again.”

Justice Robert Kilpatrick said this was Mikkigak’s last chance and said he was “skeptical” that Mikkigak would be able to keep out of trouble in the future, especially if he drinks.

“Uncontrollable rage is inside you, sir. This is what your record tells me,” Kilpatrick told Mikkigak.

Kilpatrick said if Mikkigak ends up in front of the court again, his next sentence would not be about rehabilitation; it would be about keeping the public safe from his violence by a long sentence that would have to be served in a federal penitentiary.

Kilpatrick didn’t ban Mikkigak from drinking during his probation, but Mikkigak is not allowed to be around anyone else who is drinking.

Also, he’s not allowed to be around his mother, sister or her common-law if he is drinking.

Mikkigak also isn’t allowed to possess a firearm for 15 years.

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