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Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. man apologizes for repeatedly phoning witness in kidnapping case

A sentencing hearing for Kelly Ovayuak was held in N.W.T. Territorial court in Yellowknife on Thursday. (Natalie Pressman/CBC - image credit)
A sentencing hearing for Kelly Ovayuak was held in N.W.T. Territorial court in Yellowknife on Thursday. (Natalie Pressman/CBC - image credit)

It is now up to a judge to decide what the jail sentence should be for a Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. man convicted of breaking a no-contact order with a witness and attempting to manipulate her into accepting an alternative version of events.

Kelly Ovayuak is currently in jail awaiting trial on several charges related to an incident in Inuvik, N.W.T., in April 2022.

He is 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.

In January of this year, Ovayuak was convicted of breaching a court order and obstructing justice for repeatedly calling a key witness in that incident – the woman he is accused of kidnapping and assaulting – over the spring and summer of 2022.

He called the woman, who is his former romantic partner, over 90 times from jail, where he is awaiting trial.

On Thursday, a sentencing hearing was held at N.W.T. Territorial court in Yellowknife, where crown and defence lawyers argued over how much jail time Ovayuak should get for those convictions.

Ovayuak attended from jail by video conference and spoke during the hearing.

"I am sorry I contacted her like that," he told the court. "I promise I will never contact her again."

The crown proposed a total of 18 months jail time for the offences - including 16 months for obstructing justice and two for violating the no-contact order from the court - followed by 18 months of probation where he would be ordered not to contact the woman.

The defence asked for a total sentence of 12 months, with the more than 11 months he has spent in jail awaiting trial on the earlier charges counting toward that total.

Judge Stephanie Whitecloud-Brass reserved her decision on the matter, but is scheduled to give a decision on April 8.

No matter what she decides, Ovayuak will remain in jail until at least April 15, when his trial for the other charges related to the Inuvik incident is scheduled to begin.