Rankin Inlet man faces slew of charges involving administration of justice

Such charges contribute to unacceptable delays in justice system, says Senate report

Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit recently heard the case of a Rankin Inlet man who faces 24 charges related to offences against the administration of justice. Such charges usually relate to breaking court orders and bail release conditions. (File photo)

By Thomas Rohner
Special to Nunatsiaq News

The case of a Rankin Inlet man charged by the police with dozens of offences alleged to have occurred in a 12-day span last November came before the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit on Feb. 3.

Dean Nahaglulik, 28, faces 36 charges, including 24 allegations related to offences against the administration of justice. These types of charges usually relate to breaking court orders and bail release conditions. Nahaglulik was also charged with 10 counts of using a stolen credit card.

The police allege the incidents took place between Nov. 4 and Nov. 16, 2019, in Rankin Inlet.

The number of administration of justice charges has increased across Canada by 8 per cent, while overall criminal charges have decreased by 20 per cent in the decade ending in 2014, according to Statistics Canada.

While these types of charges make up about 10 per cent of all criminal charges, more than one-third of all completed criminal court cases involve at least one administration of justice offence.

These charges are contributing to the unacceptable delays often found in the criminal justice system, according to a 2017 report from the Senate called “Delaying Justice is Denying Justice.”

Among the 138 witnesses the committee heard testimony from, many wondered how appropriate, necessary and effective such charges are, the report said.

For example, applying a no-drinking order in a case where an accused is an alcoholic sets the accused up for failure, one witness told the committee. These charges often ignore the fact that many accused do not have fixed addresses or phone numbers, another witness said.

Such unrealistic conditions set up a revolving door for those already charged with a criminal offence, the Senate heard.

The Senate report made a number of recommendations, including that the federal justice minister implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s recommendations on the legacy of colonialism experienced by Indigenous people.

The commission found that while Indigenous people make up about four per cent of the Canadian population, they represent 28 per cent of the federal inmate population as of 2012. In Nunavut, the population is about 84 per cent Inuit but the territorial prison population is about 98 per cent Inuit, according to Statistics Canada.

The Senate report “Delaying Justice is Denying Justice” said administration of justice charges are important as they “allow accused persons to maintain their liberty but under conditions that will ensure they keep the peace and appear in court.”

But the report made two recommendations to the federal justice minister to address the high number of such charges, which often contribute to delays in the system. The Senate recommended the minister prioritize reducing the court time spent on such charges and develop alternative means to deal with them on the provincial and territorial level. And the Senate recommended the minister work with provincial and territorial courts to “craft conditions of release for accused persons that will serve to protect the public while at the same time reducing the number of administration of justice charges.”

In Iqaluit, Nahaglulik is scheduled to appear in court later this month to enter pleas to his charges.

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