In sentencing an Inuit offender, the Court sought to meet the purpose and objectives of sentencing through consideration of the unique circumstances of this case, including competing sentencing principles, Gladue factors, and the frequency of violence against sleeping and unconscious women in Nunavut.
This case deals with the sentencing of Mr. Kolola, an Inuit offender who committed sexual assault on a sleeping female victim. The Court sought out to ensure that the sentence imposed was fit to the offender and the crime. Given that Mr. Kolola is an Inuit offender, the Court accounted for the effects of historic and systemic colonialism and inter-generational trauma experienced by Inuit people, articulated through Gladue factors.
The aggravating factors included Mr. Kolola’s criminal record, which demonstrated a pattern of violence against women through multiple convictions for serious intimate partner violence. The nature of Mr. Kolola’s sexual assault was quite predatory, as he assaulted the victim while she was asleep and in her own home. It was also noted by the Court that this assault seemed to be premeditated as he sought out his particular victim. There are several mitigating factors including Mr. Kolola’s Gladue factors which revealed his unfavourable childhood riddled with addiction and abuse, and his tangible efforts at rehabilitation through his continued sobriety.
The Court also took into account that sexual offenses involving sleeping women in Nunavut are unfortunately a common occurrence. As a result, there is widespread perception that the Court minimises the nature and severity of sexual violence. Therefore, the Court sought to impose a sentence in which sought to repair this distrust and fear of the criminal justice system by victims of sexual violence, while also holding Mr. Kolola demonstrably responsible for his crime. Through consideration and application of these unique circumstances and the competing sentencing principles, the Court concluded by ordering that Mr. Kolola serve 30 months (900 days) in a federal penitentiary.