Former DIAND official gets four years for sex crimes

Judge Donald Bissonnette gave former DIAND administrator Barry Gunn a harsher sentence than even the Crown had asked for at a sentencing hearing in Inukjuak last week.


IQALUIT — A former northern administrator for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, Barry Gunn, was sentenced to four years in prison last week in Inukjuak

In late August, Gunn, 69, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual touching and two counts of sexual interference involving four different complainants under the age of 14.

Gunn worked as a DIAND administrator in Baffin and northern Quebec.

At the time of his arrest in May of 1997, Gunn was working in Inukjuaq for Avataq, Nunavik’s cultural institute. Following his arrest, Gunn had been living in Iqaluit under the terms of a court order.

Gunn’s pre-sentencing report stated that said Gunn has “pedophilic tendencies.”

Last Thursday, Gunn testified on his own behalf at the sentencing hearing.

While Gunn said he was sorry over his actions, he maintained that he had obtained consent from his victims and didn’t realize that what he was doing was wrong and, in fact, against the law.

Quebec judge Donald Bissonnette asked those present in the courtroom if they wished to say anything about the case before Gunn’s sentencing. Several did speak to the court about the negative impact of Gunn’s actions on the victims.

The Crown had asked for a sentence of between two and three and a half years, while the defence sought a sentence of less than two years, or a conditional sentence that would have permitted Gunn to serve his time in a community where he could receive treatment for his pedophilia.

In his sentencing statement last Friday, Judge Bissonnette dismissed Gunn’s testimony as an “intellectual exercise.”

In handing down his four-year sentence to Gunn, Judge Bissonnette said that, despite Gunn’s lack of prior convinctions, the four-year penalty was not severe given the nature of the offences.

Gunn is now undergoing evaluation at a corrections centre to see which federal penitentiary will be able to offer him appropriate programs.

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