Sentencing delayed for Esgenoôpetitj woman guilty of fatal stabbing

An RCMP vehicle shown near the scene of the death of a man in Esgenoôpetitj First Nation in 2020. (Gail Harding/CBC - image credit)
An RCMP vehicle shown near the scene of the death of a man in Esgenoôpetitj First Nation in 2020. (Gail Harding/CBC - image credit)

The sentencing of an Esgenoôpetitj woman who admitted to fatally stabbing Christopher Dedam was delayed Tuesday  until January after her lawyer disagreed with an expanded statement of facts introduced at the sentencing hearing.

Another sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 12 in the Miramichi courthouse.

Nikita Dedam was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in August.

At that time, a statement of facts was read and agreed to by the defence.

That statement of facts was a "very brief summary," according to Melanie Rose MacAulay, the Crown prosecutor.

On Tuesday, the Crown introduced an expanded statement of facts, which was not read out in court but was reviewed by Dedam and her lawyer.

Nikita Dedam/Twitter
Nikita Dedam/Twitter

Dedam's lawyer Alison Ménard said that they did not agree with the updated statement, and that if the case had gone to trial, some of the additional facts would have been contested.

"There's materials that we just don't agree are accurate," Ménard said.

Justice Fred Ferguson was frustrated by the introduction of new materials 2½ months after the guilty plea.

"This is not a speeding case, it's a manslaughter case," he told the court. "It's a very serious matter."

Ferguson said it would have been prudent for lawyers on either side to meet in the time between the August plea and Tuesday's hearing to resolve any disputed facts.

Other evidence brought forward

The defence also wanted to introduce evidence for the sentencing hearing, including a video Christopher Dedam published on Facebook about eight hours before his death.

In the video, he refers to Nikita Dedam and her then-boyfriend and some tension between them, which was described as a beef. The defence said the video would be helpful in providing more context as to what happened leading up to the altercation.

The Crown also introduced material from Facebook for the hearing. They brought forward Facebook messages between Christopher Dedam and Nikita Dedam's boyfriend, some of which were allegedly sent by Nikita through her boyfriend's account.

The messages were not presented in court.

What was agreed in August

According to the details agreed to in August, the victim had been posting disparaging comments about Dedam and her boyfriend on Facebook in the days before his death.

The couple drove past his home and he gave them the middle finger. Early the next morning, they drove by again, she jumped out of the vehicle and went up to his porch. A fight began over why the victim had given Dedam and her boyfriend the finger.

The fight moved to the bathroom, where Nikita Dedam was struck in the face by a metal pole. She then fatally stabbed him with an item in the bathroom.