Former Iqaluit RCMP member appeals conviction, as judge decries 'plague' of sexual violence against Inuit

WARNING: This story contains details of sexual assault.

A former Iqaluit RCMP special constable is appealing his conviction and sentence for sexual assault.

Mosesie Ikkidluak was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for three counts of sexual assault on June 24.

The first incidence happened in 2008 – then twice in 2021 when he was with the police force – all on the same victim while she was asleep.

The Crown and defence presented a joint proposal of a four-year sentence, which Nunavut Justice Paul Bychok called "out of whack" and "unhinged."

"Both sentencing proposals reflect thoroughly discredited attitudes towards, and the shocking indifference to, the plague of sexual violence faced daily by Inuit women and girls," he said.

He added both the Crown and defence lawyers used language when referring to Ikkidluak's actions which minimizes the seriousness of the crime.

The RCMP detachment in Iqaluit. The trial of a former RCMP officer who worked for the Nunavut RCMP on a relief shift began today in Iqaluit.
The charges date from 2008 to Sept. 2021, while Ikkidluak was off-duty. (David Gunn/CBC)

The victim, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, read an impact statement over Zoom rather than in-person.

Bychok said the Crown did not inform the victim when the sentencing hearing was happening.

Mitigating factors not enough

Ikkidluak's struggles with alcohol and intergenerational trauma were raised as mitigating factors during the sentencing, but Bychok shot those down.

He said there's no evidence of his drinking being a significant issue in his other relationships, or his job.

As for systemic factors, he said Ikkidluak's parents presented evidence of them shielding their children "from the direct sting of these harsh realities".

His lawyer, Alison Crowe, read out letters from Ikkidluak's family, including his common law spouse.

The Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.
The Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit. (David Gunn/CBC)

"We have been struggling financially and mentally and I am fearful of how this sentencing will mentally impact my children."

"In all the years we have been together, there has never been a time that I have felt uncomfortable or unsafe in his presence."

During a hearing for Ikkidluak's release on bail, pending the appeal, Crowe argued the judge should've considered the evidence of her witnesses, who can testify to the "effective obsession" the victim had with Ikkidluak.

His determination that "any expression of affection between the applicant and the accused was inadmissible, in my view, is far too broad," she said.

Mosesie Ikkidluak is being kept at the Aaqqigiarvik Correctional Healing Facility while he waits to be sent to a federal prison.
Mosesie Ikkidluak is being kept at the Aaqqigiarvik Correctional Healing Facility while he waits to be sent to a federal prison. (Samuel Wat/CBC )

'Institutional failure' to address gendered violence '

Bychok also took aim at the "culture of acceptance of these heinous crimes" in Nunavut.

"This court must address the continuing institutional and systemic failure in Nunavut to treat gender-based sexual violence seriously," he said.

He adds there is "an unwritten convention" of judges feeling constrained to go with sentences recommended by the counsel.

"Just as bad cases are said to make bad law, bad sentencing proposals contribute to bad sentencing precedents," he said.

The hearing for Ikkidluak's bail, while he awaits his appeal, is adjourned until next week.