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Courtroom visitors face bag searches, metal detector screening

Security tight at Mountie murder hearing in Iqaluit

By CHRIS WINDEYER

Security was tight outside Courtroom 3 of the Nunavut Justice Centre in Iqaluit as a preliminary hearing began Aug. 11 for the man accused of killing RCMP Cst. Douglas Scott in Kimmirut last November.

Visitors had their bags searched and were screened with a metal detector as Pingoatuk "Ping" Kolola, 37, appeared in court, charged with first-degree murder.

Two or three Mounties were posted inside the courtroom at all times, while another was stationed outside.

Kolola smiled at a woman in the gallery as he was led in to court. He listened attentively during proceedings and occasionally spoke quietly with his lawyers, Eugenia Cappellaro and Neil Sharkey.

Suzanne Boucher, the lead Crown lawyer, plans to call at least three expert witnesses and 14 other witnesses during the hearing.

The preliminary hearing is for discovery, which means the Crown presents evidence to allow a judge to determine if there's enough to justify sending the case to trial.

Testimony began Monday after the Crown entered evidence, some of which was ordered sealed by Justice Robert Kilpatrick.

Boucher said the preliminary inquiry would likely wrap up some time between Aug. 20 and Aug. 22. The case won't likely go to a trial until some time next year.

Scott, 20, died Nov. 5, 2007, after being shot in the head with a rifle. The Mountie, who was well-liked in the community, had been responding to a drunk-driving complaint.

Scott had been stationed in Kimmirut for only a month and had been serving as an officer for six months at the time of his death.

Under the terms of a routine court order, any evidence given at the preliminary inquiry may not be published or broadcast.

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