The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

From CBC News: March 5, 2010, Accused in Nunavut Mountie killing testifies. Jury to begin deliberating next week

Posted by cgccanada on March 8, 2010

A Nunavut man accused of shooting an RCMP officer two years ago says he meant to scare the Mountie away, not kill him. Pingoatuk Kolola, 39, testified in his own defence Friday during his first-degree murder trial in the Nov. 5, 2007, death of Const. Douglas Scott in the remote hamlet of Kimmirut. Scott, 20, was investigating a drunk-driving complaint in the Baffin Island community when he was shot in his RCMP truck. In his opening statement to the Nunavut Court of Justice jury, defence lawyer Andrew Mahar emphatically said his client did fire the shot that ended the Mountie’s life. But Mahar said the 11 jurors must decide whether Kolola intended to kill Scott, which would make the difference between first-degree murder and manslaughter. Kolola then moved to the centre of the packed Iqaluit courtroom and was sworn in as the only defence witness. Crown prosecutors called 20 witnesses, including family members, friends and RCMP experts, to testify last week. The court has already heard that Kolola drove recklessly around Kimmirut the night of Nov. 5 after arguing with his common-law wife, then drank some alcohol. Court also heard that Kolola took the couple’s eight-month-old son with him as he drove his employer’s truck around the community until it became stuck at a nearby construction site. In the witness box, Kolola testified he took his .30-06 rifle with him that night with the intention of killing himself out of anger and distress. With the truck hung up at the construction site, Kolola said he had started walking home when he saw an RCMP vehicle approach. Kolola said he had his baby in his left arm and the rifle in his right arm when he fired the rifle in the direction of Scott’s truck — but at “nothing in particular” — to “scare him away.” But over several hours Friday afternoon, Crown prosecutor Susanne Boucher picked apart Kolola’s testimony, asking him why he would fire a warning shot at a police vehicle if he wanted to be left alone. Boucher argued Kolola could have fired his rifle anywhere else but at the RCMP truck’s passenger window had he intended to frighten the officer away. She then asked Kolola why he would approach the police truck after firing the shot, knowing an armed officer was inside the vehicle, if he had never intended to kill. Kolola, who mostly kept his head down and answered “Yes” or “No” during much of the questioning, said he went up to the truck because he did not see any movement inside. Mahar did not re-examine Kolola afterwards, so Justice Robert Kilpatrick has sent the jury home for the weekend. On Monday, the court is to hear closing arguments and the judge’s instructions.

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