Łutselk'e chief's trial adjourned to July

·2 min read
Łutselk'e, N.W.T., in May 2022.  (Natalie Pressman/CBC - image credit)
Łutselk'e, N.W.T., in May 2022. (Natalie Pressman/CBC - image credit)

The trial for a Northwest Territories chief accused of driving while intoxicated has been adjourned after a key witness was unable to appear in court.

The territorial court trial was scheduled to hear final submissions Thursday, but will instead be postponed to July.

Łutsël K'é Dene First Nation Chief Darryl Marlowe was charged with driving while intoxicated after crashing his snowmobile last January, an incident that left Marlowe with a fractured skull, the court heard.

Marlowe pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Doris Catholique was scheduled to appear as the Crown prosecutor's final witness, but had to instead catch a flight to Edmonton to escort a family member on medical travel.

Catholique was originally ordered to appear in court Wednesday, but never showed.

In her absence, Judge Jeannie Scott accepted the Crown's application to issue a warrant for Catholique's arrest.

Natalie Pressman/CBC
Natalie Pressman/CBC

The court heard Thursday Catholique had not been arrested. She appeared in court Thursday of her own volition but had to catch the flight with her father before she was called to the stand.

The trial has been adjourned to July 6, in the Yellowknife courthouse.

The Crown will again subpoena Catholique to appear as the final witness.

Witness's evidence deemed inadmissible

Before the trial was adjourned, defence lawyer Paul Falvo argued one testimony Wednesday should be deemed inadmissible.

On Wednesday, the court heard an audio recording of a 9-1-1 call reporting Marlowe's crash at the Łutselk'e fire station.

The caller identified herself as Bernice Marlowe, Darryl's aunt.

Once on the stand, however, Bernice said she had no recollection of the call and hearing the audio back did not jog her memory.

Natalie Pressman/CBC
Natalie Pressman/CBC

Bernice pointed to a head injury last October and said she hasn't been able to remember much since then, including her own wedding day.

While Bernice said the voice in the recording could be her, it also sounded like her sister.

In delivering her decision, Scott ultimately agreed with Falvo and ruled the recorded 9-1-1 call inadmissible.

Scott acknowledged testimony from an RCMP officer in the community who recognized the recorded voice as Bernice's, but said she gave "little weight" to that testimony and accepted Bernice's testimony that she has no memory of the call.

The new July 6 trial date will be confirmed in court on June 13.

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