Man accused in 2018 RCMP standoff in Iqaluit was trying to die at hands of police: defence lawyer

·3 min read
Defence lawyer for Jerry Issuqangituq says he was trying to aggravate the RCMP enough that they would shoot and kill him. Issuqangituq was shot by RCMP three times.   (Michael Salomonie/CBC - image credit)
Defence lawyer for Jerry Issuqangituq says he was trying to aggravate the RCMP enough that they would shoot and kill him. Issuqangituq was shot by RCMP three times. (Michael Salomonie/CBC - image credit)

Defence lawyer for a man accused in a police standoff in Iqaluit in 2018 says his client wanted to end his own life and wanted it to be done at the hands of RCMP.

Submissions were read by the defence lawyer Andre Landry and Crown prosecutor Gregory Lyndon at the Nunavut Court of Justice Thursday.

Landry's client Jerry Issuqangituq has been charged with five counts of attempted murder, five counts of discharging a firearm with intent, one count of reckless discharging of a firearm, and one count of careless use of a firearm.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges. Evidence was heard over a three-day trial in August.

Landry says his client is not guilty of attempted murder because he was never aiming to hit anyone. Rather, he was trying to aggravate the RCMP enough that they would shoot and kill him.

Issuqangituq was shot three times and medevaced to an Ottawa hospital for treatment. Const. David Hubert, and Insp. Stephen Archibald, both shot at Issuqangituq but it is unclear if both or just one of them hit him.

On Dec. 22, 2018, the night of the three-hour standoff, Issuqangituq was celebrating his birthday with friends and family. He was 25 at the time.

In the agreed statement of facts, it says his father was the one who called police for help because his son was intoxicated and was holding two knives and "trying to slash everybody."

Const. Hubert was the first officer to arrive at the scene. He testified on the first day of the trial that when he arrived at the house Issuqangituq was intoxicated and very agitated.

He told the court that when he pulled his gun on Issuqangituq he told Hubert to "just shoot me."

Landry says this is evidence Issuqangituq was trying to aggravate the situation so police would shoot him.

According to the agreed statement of facts, RCMP Const. Margaret Tracz tried to tase Issuqangituq twice while in the house. It's unclear if the taser didn't work, or didn't hit him.

Michael Salomonie/CBC
Michael Salomonie/CBC

From there the situation escalated into a standoff with Issuqangituq inside the house and police outside.

More than 30 bullet holes were found in RCMP vehicles.

Landry doesn't dispute the firearms charges but says there is reasonable doubt around when Issuqangituq shot at the police vehicles.

On the third day of trial Const. Bruno Lim testified that he shot his carbine rifle five times through the front windshield of an RCMP car while sitting in the driver's seat, while another RCMP officer was in the passenger seat.

Lim says he shot after hearing the sound of something hitting metal before seeing a defect, from what he says, was a bullet on the windshield. After shooting he backed up the car and both officers jumped out and ran toward a neighbouring house.

Michael Salomonie/CBC
Michael Salomonie/CBC

Landry says the bullet holes in the vehicle are on one side of the car that was exposed after Lim backed it up. Landry argues these shots were taken after the officers retreated from the vehicle.

But the Crown says because several of its witnesses testified their vehicles were shot upon arriving at the scene implies Issuqangituq was shooting at the people in them.

Justice Susan Cooper will make a decision on the evidence presented at trial.

There is currently no date set for her decision.

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