Appeals court upholds conviction of man who sexually assaulted woman over bottle of liquor
Solomon Idlout convicted of break and enter to commit a crime in October 2021
Nunavut’s Court of Appeal has rejected the appeal of a man convicted of breaking into a woman’s home to sexually assault her over a bottle of liquor.
Solomon Idlout was 36 years old when he was handed a 30-month jail sentence after a one-day trial in Resolute Bay in October 2021.
At trial, Judge Alan Ingram considered the testimony of the complainant, whose identity is protected by the courts, and Idlout, as well as the lawyers’ closing submissions.
The complainant testified that Idlout entered her home in the early hours of May 14, 2019, and woke her up because she had allegedly stolen a bottle of alcohol from him and his girlfriend.
The victim testified Idlout gave her a choice: have sex with him or get beaten up by his girlfriend.
She testified she did not want either option but chose to have sex with Idlout.
Idlout shared a similar story in his testimony. He said he told the victim that his girlfriend had sent him over to the house to sexually assault her but that he wouldn’t do that. Instead, he asked the victim if she wanted to have sex, “for fun,” and she agreed.
Ingram rejected Idlout’s evidence.
“It makes no sense that he announced to others that he was going to commit the rape, was mad, and drinking, entered the residence uninvited in the middle of the night, woke her up, gave her two choices of rape or being beat up by another; and when she agreed to sex, asked her several times if she was consenting,” Ingram said in his judgment.
In contrast, the judge described the victim’s testimony as “straightforward.”
Nunavut Court of Appeal Justices Shannon Smallwood, Elizabeth Hughes and Jolaine Antonio heard Idlout’s appeal on Feb. 14.
Idlout’s lawyer argued the conviction should be overturned for two reasons.
First, the lawyer argued that Ingram misapprehended Idlout’s testimony by saying Idlout testified that he had given the victim a choice, while that detail came from the victim.
The three appeals judges said this type of appeal needs to pass a stringent test in order to be allowed. The misapprehension must be substantial and “play an essential part of the reasoning process leading to the conviction,” according to the judgment.
Idlout’s lawyer also said Ingram didn’t give sufficient reasons for conviction — for example, he didn’t explain why he believed Idlout’s testimony “made no sense.”
The appeals court said in response that the two testimonies were “remarkably similar” other than the issue of consent, and that Ingram only had the two testimonies to rely on, as no other evidence was given.
“In conclusion,” states the judgment, “we dismiss the appeal.”