Judge sentences armed robber to time served, counselling for childhood trauma

Kassandra Akpik pleaded guilty to robbing an Iqaluit taxi driver at knifepoint in 2018

Nunavut judge Susan Charlesworth sentenced an armed robber to time served and parole, with a condition that the offender seek counselling for childhood trauma. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

A Nunavut judge won’t sentence an Iqaluit woman to additional jail time for her role in the 2018 armed robbery of an Iqaluit taxi driver, instead imposing a condition that she seek counselling for childhood trauma.

Kassandra Akpik pleaded guilty last year to the armed robbery of a cab driver in Iqaluit in October 2018.

Akpik served nine months in custody on remand but was released with conditions in late 2019.

At her October 2020 sentencing hearing, an agreed statement of facts said that 21-year-old Akpik and a 15-year-old-male accomplice called a taxi around 2 a.m. on Oct. 4, 2018.

Once the cab arrived, Akpik got into the passenger seat and put a knife to the driver’s neck, demanding money. The pair fled the cab with $500 in cash and taxi vouchers.

The driver recognized Akpik and was later able to identify her to police.

Akpik told police she was regularly abusing drugs and alcohol, including on the night before the robbery.

A pre-sentencing report noted that Akpik was abandoned by abusive parents at age two and was raised by an aunt. She was sexually assaulted by a family friend when she was six years old.

Both the Crown and defence agreed that Akpik suffered childhood trauma, and that those childhood experiences informed her decisions the night of the robbery.

In a Feb. 9 decision, Nunavut Court judge Susan Charlesworth sentenced the woman to the nine months already served as well as three years parole, with various conditions.

Akpik must enroll in treatment or counselling and abstain from using drugs or alcohol, Charlesworth said. She must adhere to a curfew for the next six months and perform 150 hours of community service.

Akpik is also required to write a letter of apology to the taxi driver she robbed.

Charlesworth noted the seriousness of the crime and the impact it’s had on the driver, as well as on the community, which relies on taxi service.

But Charlesworth also said it was important to encourage Akpik to battle her past and work towards becoming a functioning member of society.

“Considering all the facts and factors, it is my view that a sentence of imprisonment of nine months [time served] to be followed by a three-year probation order would be appropriate,” she wrote.

“It addresses the harm done to the community and to [the driver] by this robbery and sends a message that jail is required for this type of offence, while also requiring that Ms. Akpik get treatment to address her childhood trauma so hopefully she will stay out of trouble in the future.”

Akpik is also prohibited from owning or using a firearm for a period of 10 years and must submit a sample of her DNA to a national database.

r v Akpik, 2021 by NunatsiaqNews

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(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by Pathetic on

    As much as I’m in feeling for a child that grew up marred by abused, I’m concerned about a court system that issues a green light to the criminal behaviour of that grown up to be excused with a light sentence and a somewhat therapeutic suggestion to heal from the said abuse, which we all know is not likely to rectify the behaviour. Many abused people don’t go on the commit crimes against society, allow the judge to know the difference in reality. Pathetic.

    • Posted by Our Courts & Government Are A Joke on

      We all totally agree that no person should grow up being abused, especially a child, but when will this ever end ?
      If she was abused by a family member, and because of this she turned to a life of crime, what is being done to charge or deter that family member who abused her.
      Nothing !!
      Because this is the direction our court systems takes at the direction of our Government and its officials.
      So lets take a real look at this. Your a young child growing up in a home and an older family member sexually abuses you. If your lucky this family member will get charge and go to court. Their sentence will be little to nothing for the damage and trauma they caused that child, and in nearly all the cases they will be out of jail in a few months, only to go back to the same home and abuse this child again.
      So what message is our courts and government sending to these abusers ?
      How will it ever end if our Court System continues to turn a blind eye on this, and continue to give a slap on a wrist for such horrible crimes.
      Can’t our Government & Court System see what they are doing ????
      This cycle of abuse and crime will never end if you continue to find excuses for the people whom commit them.
      We all know its the abusers fault, but our courts and our government should be charge as well for not protecting the Innocent.

  2. Posted by Lenient to a fault on

    Armed robbery with serious bodily risk to a driver with 9 months? Really? These judges perpetuate violence by failure to uphold deterrence and giving everyone playing the trauma card a pass. Prosecutors are too under resourced that they are forced to make deals on all but the most heinous of crimes.

  3. Posted by Curious on

    I’m curious if she was a he if the sentencing would be the same?

  4. Posted by Raven on

    Akuluk Kasandra

  5. Posted by Qikiqtarmiut on

    Many people feel this is a lenient sentence because she used a knife that “could have” hurt him physically, I am sure this has affected the victim mentally. The “remand” credit usually consist of a 1.5 credit which the article doesn’t seem to mention or perhaps the courts didn’t apply which would have given her over a year sentence.

    There was a guy earlier this year that received a two year sentence, with several prior robbery convictions – but I didn’t see the posts saying he got away with it, yet everyone thinks this girl got the greenlight after spending almost a year in jail?

    I think people are so easily influenced by how an article is written – “judge won’t sentence …” “time served” … but she was sentenced to 9 months in jail with strict conditions to follow after this. This is first time offender. This sentence is well inline with other sentences.

    I see over and over sexual assault cases getting less then this – where is the uproar there?

    • Posted by In the name of first offenders on

      It’s ones history that counts. It doesn’t matter if it’s a first offender, that’s my opinion. If the justice system dealt with first offenders effectively, there would be less repeated offenders. It’s the nature of the crime that counts, first second , third or repeated offenders. If one commits a murder, would first offenders defence be ok then? This is a serious crime, should be no first offenders consideration. I stand up for the victim, and those people abused or not, that don’t even become a first offender. That’s my opinion, and it’s many followers I have too.

  6. Posted by Paul Murphy on

    I take it from these comments, that very few of you read the Judgement and reasons presented by the Judge. If you did, you would have found a well thought out, “by the law” , judgement. Try not to opine here with you unfounded, ill informed words. Perhaps education is important.

  7. Posted by Censor? on

    I have posted to this article three times critiquing the judgment. Nothing posts.
    The judge cites no precedent of value to make this lenient sentence. Anyone in southern Canada would be in jail. She fails to deter offenders.
    Why does nunatsiaq avoid comments which critique of judgements? Maybe this one will post if I don’t critique Gladue and trauma-excusing too much.

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