Trial date set for Papequash

It’s been almost a year since the first court hearing to schedule Christian Papequash’s sexual assault trial.

It’s been almost a year since the first court hearing to schedule Christian Papequash’s sexual assault trial.

In a Supreme Court hearing, Tuesday, the three-day trial was booked April 11 to 14. There, witnesses will take the stand before a judge and jury.

Crown prosecutor Noel Sinclair asked the court to hold the trial earlier in April.

“This matter has been before the court for a very long time,” said Sinclair.

The Crown expects to call three witnesses to the stand over the course of the trial, he added.

Papequash’s lawyer, Malcolm Campbell, asked the court to put the trial off until May, to give the defence more time to prepare.

Previously, Papequash was represented by local lawyer Gordon Coffin.

Coffin asked to be removed from the case after he could not get in touch with Papequash.

Despite the change in lawyers, the case is clear, said Sinclair.

“This is a very straightforward sexual assault trial,” he told the court.

The charges against Papequash date back to an incident alleged to have occurred in the summer of 1997, according to court documents.

Due to a publication ban the details of the incident and the name of person who filed the charges are sealed.

JUSTICE

Sex assault trial delayed

The trial of a former Champagne-Aishihik deputy chief who has been charged with sexual assault has been postponed.

Gerald Brown was not in the courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

He had recently been released from the medical centre in Haines Junction and could not attend the Supreme Court hearing because of health issues, a representative told the court on Brown’s behalf.

Brown still does not have a lawyer though he has appeared in court numerous times this year.

In an earlier hearing, Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower set Brown’s trial for May. It could not be put off any longer, Gower said.

Brown has an appointment with local defence lawyer Keith Parkkari later this month.

While Parkkari is expected to take on the case, nothing more will be certain until after the two meet.

The trial has been postponed at the request of both Brown and Crown prosecutor Sue Bogle.

The Crown is waiting for three different pieces of DNA evidence, Bogle told the court.

Due to a backlog in BC, the DNA will likely be sent to a lab in Halifax, she said.

The Crown expects the three DNA profiles to be in by the end of April.

Brown is facing sexual assault charges for an incident that occurred in June 2004, according to court documents.

Due to a publication ban details of the incident and the identity of the person who filed the charges with police cannot be published.

Brown stepped down from his position as deputy chief when the charges were laid.

He is scheduled to appear in court on April 4. There, a new trial date will be set. (CO)

NATIONALISM

Sea change

There are three seas in Canada, according to Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington, who represents the Northwest Territories.

Bevington is leading the charge to change Canada’s national motto from “from sea to sea” to “from sea to sea to sea,” to include the 165,000-kilometre stretch of coastline along the Arctic Ocean.

“It will remind people that the country is bounded by three oceans,” said Yukon MP, Larry Bagnell.

Many Canadians think about the country in terms of the East and West, and forget about the North.

“When I talk at meetings I often use ‘sea to sea to sea’ already,” said Bagnell. “I’ve spent most of my time in Parliament leading a crusade on northern sovereignty to make sure we have more presence in the North.”

Canada’s current motto — from sea to sea, or a mari usque ad mare in Latin — was pulled from Psalm 72:8 of the Bible, which reads: “He shall have dominion from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”

It was first officially used in Saskatchewan in 1906, when it was engraved on the head of the mace of its Legislative Assembly. Thereafter, it became part of Canada’s coat of arms, approved by royal proclamation in 1921.

“The change is symbolic, but language encompasses culture, so if you include it in the language it becomes part of the thought process and the decision-making process,” said Bagnell.

Bevington plans to bring forward a motion in Parliament that, if approved, would ask Queen Elizabeth II to officially amend the motto. (LC)