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
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.