Youths charged with serious violent offences appear in Nunavut court

Crown to seek adult sentence for youth accused in 2017 killing of Kugluktuk woman

A view of Kugluktuk, where Margaret Ogina, 41, died in 2017. A youth who is charged with second degree murder in that case appeared in Nunavut court last week. (File photo)

By Thomas Rohner
Special to Nunatsiaq News

Two youth were among a dozen Nunavummiut charged with serious violent offences, including homicide, whose cases were scheduled for the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit last week.

The identities of those youths and any information that could identify them may not be published, under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Police charged one youth, from a Baffin community, who appeared before Justice Earl Johnson June 4, with four offences.

All four charges are alleged to have occurred last December. The charges include attempted murder, assault with a machete, assault with a knife and sexual assault. The charges involve three separate complainants.

The youth, who wore a black Nike T-shirt and black socks without shoes in court, struck a deal with Crown prosecutors June 4.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in lieu of the attempted murder charge and entered guilty pleas to the two assault charges.

The youth pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charge. He will stand trial on that charge in his community later this year.

In an unrelated matter, prosecutors will seek an adult sentence for the youth charged in connection with the death of a 46-year-old Kugluktuk woman in 2017.

Police found Margaret Ogina dead in her home April 10, 2017, according to a news release issued that year.

Earlier this year, police charged a youth with second-degree murder in connection with that death, according to a January news release.

In a notice filed May 31, prosecutors said they intend to seek an adult sentence if the accused, who was a youth at the time of the alleged offence, is convicted.

Youth incarceration rates dropped last year in Nunavut and across most of Canada, according to a report issued by Statistics Canada in May.

But indigenous youth are significantly over-represented in Canada’s jails.

Indigenous youth made up about 48 per cent of all youth in admitted to correctional facilities in 2017/18 but only represent eight per cent of Canada’s youth population, the report said.

The proportion of Indigenous youth admitted has increased by 65 per cent since 2007.

—With notes from Emma Tranter

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