Crown drops charge against former N.W.T. deputy minister

·1 min read

A charge of aggravated assault against a former deputy minister of the N.W.T. government has been dropped.

Willard Hagen was accused of stabbing a man in Yellowknife last February. Hagen pleaded not guilty to the charge.

His preliminary inquiry was to begin in Yellowknife Wednesday morning. But at the start of the appearance, the prosecutor in the case announced the Crown was staying the charge.

Prosecutor Nakita McFadden would not give any details about why the charge was stayed. She said only that there was no longer a reasonable chance of getting a conviction.

Hagen, 72, is a former president of the Gwich'in Tribal Council and a former chair of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

He resigned his position as deputy minister of the Department of Lands last September. The resignation came shortly after Hagen accused a Yellowknife MLA who was running for re-election of being racist.