‘It’s been devastating’: Murder suspect’s charge dropped after 4 years in custody

Crown requested Glen Kadlak Jr.’s second-degree murder charge dropped on Sept. 21

Crown lawyers dropped the second-degree murder charge against Glen Kadlak Jr. on Sept. 21. Kadlak was a suspect in the 2017 death of a 12-year-old boy from Rankin Inlet. (File photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Crown has dropped its second-degree murder charge against Glen Kadlak Jr., one of two co-accused in the killing of a 12-year-old boy in Rankin Inlet in 2017.

It was decided there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction, wrote Nunavut’s chief federal prosecutor Philippe Plourde in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

“The Crown had a discussion with the family of the victim,” Plourde wrote. “No matter what happened, nothing will bring back the young child. His family and the community must live with his tragic absence forever.”

Community members found the boy’s body in a trailer on July 7, 2017, days after he had been reported missing. In testimony at trial, the court was told he died from blunt force trauma and was stabbed multiple times.

The name of the young victim is protected under a court-ordered publication ban.

Police arrested two people and charged them with second-degree murder.

One was a youth at the time of the death and cannot be named under the Criminal Youth Justice Act. His trial in Iqaluit concluded Sept. 13 and judge Susan Cooper has set a tentative date of Oct. 31 to deliver a decision.

Police also arrested Kadlak, in October 2018. He was held in custody until Sept. 21 this year, when judge Neil Sharkey heard Plourde’s case to drop the charge.

Plourde noted that dropping the charge against Kadlak, 25, will have no impact on the youth’s trial.

He did not indicate what had changed in the murder case that led the Crown to decide there was a slim chance of conviction for Kadlak.

“Evidence in criminal prosecutions evolves throughout files, and that is why this assessment is continuous,” Plourde said.

“A file can have a reasonable prospect of conviction initially, and eventually no reasonable prospect of conviction anymore.”

However, in an interview with Nunatsiaq News, Kadlak’s defense lawyer James Foord said the Crown’s decision could have been because it deemed a confession made by Kadlak — which was obtained by an undercover police operation — as being unreliable.

Kadlak testified in the youth’s trial that police first arrested him in December 2017 in connection with the child’s death, but didn’t lay charges and released him.

Kadlak said while he was in custody, he met a man named Jason in the holding cell. They became good friends for the next 10 months, with Jason employing Kadlak to do carpentry and electrical jobs around Manitoba.

Foord said Jason took Kadlak out to restaurants and that they travelled to different cities together.

“The operation continued, becoming more close to Glen, earning his trust, being a friend for him and offering opportunities he would never have had in Rankin Inlet,” Foord said.

“And these were all undercover RCMP officers.”

Kadlak testified at the youth’s trial that he was told by the undercover officers he would lose his job if he didn’t confess to murdering the victim. Kadlak called it a “false confession.”

Some parts of Kadlak’s confession were suggested to him by the RCMP officers, Foord said, adding parts of the confession were inconsistent with the facts of the crime.

Foord questioned why the Crown changed its position years after the confession was obtained and one week before Kadlak’s next scheduled appearance in court.

“I don’t know everything they know, but I don’t know what changed that much [about] the status of the evidence,” Foord said.

Plourde did not respond to a question about whether the Crown’s decision to drop the charge was related to the reliability of the confession.

Foord said there are now questions around whether Kadlak could seek damages because of the amount of time he’s been kept in jail.

“Four and a half years in jail … It’s been devastating for him, the deprivation of contact with his family, being incarcerated. It’s unspeakable really,” Foord said.

“Is this person any less a victim of the criminal justice system?”

 

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