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N.W.T. man found guilty of trying to manipulate key witness on kidnapping charges

The courthouse in Yellowknife on Jan. 15, 2024. (Robert Holden/CBC - image credit)
The courthouse in Yellowknife on Jan. 15, 2024. (Robert Holden/CBC - image credit)

A Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., man has been found guilty of breaking a no-contact order with a witness, and attempting to manipulate her into accepting an alternative version of events.

Kelly Ovayuak faces charges related to an incident in Inuvik, N.W.T., in April 2022, when he was accused of breaking into a home and assaulting a man, wounding or endangering the life of a woman, kidnapping the same woman, failing to stop for police, mischief, impaired driving and two breaches of the probation orders he was under at the time.

Ovayuak appeared by video in a Yellowknife courtroom Monday.

The court heard how Ovayuak made at least 90 phone calls to the witness — who's also the woman he's accused of kidnapping and wounding or endangering, and is a former romantic partner of Ovayuak — between May 26 and July 28, 2022. Nineteen of those calls were made an exhibit during the trial.

The woman previously told the court she answered Ovayuak's calls to "see what he had to say" and "get answers." The judge recalled that the woman can be heard telling him to stop speaking on the matter during those calls.

Justice Stephanie Whitecloud-Brass agreed the accused made repeated attempts to change evidence.

Ovayuak has a long criminal history, including multiple assault, and assault with a weapon convictions.

A sentencing date will be determined on Jan. 23.

Ovayuak is still awaiting trial on the other charges against him, with a date set for April 15 for that.