Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that long-term offender is the proper designation.
An Iqaluit man who has earned a long-term offender designation thanks to 130 convictions and 249 misconducts while in prison will only have to spend one more year behind bars, and the sentencing judge wished him well on his road to rehabilitation.
“I have no difficulty finding that Eetooloo Ejetsiak meets the criteria necessary for designation as a long-term offender.” stated Justice Bonnie Tulloch. “Mr. Ejetsiak agrees that he meets the criteria to be declared a long-term offender. He knows that this is where he is at this stage in his life and he accepts that.”
However, Tulloch decided to let Ejetsiak be released from custody in one year instead of the four additional years recommended by the Crown because the serial offender has been subjected to incredible trauma and he’s shown promising signs of wanting to heal.
“Eetooloo: It is my fervent and sincere hope that you succeed in managing the demons that have driven your life for so long. It is time!” Tulloch said during sentencing. “Given what your lawyer said and the comments you made last week, I am hopeful that with a lot of hard work on your part, you can succeed. There is no doubt that there will be lots of bumps in the road and my hope is that you won’t be too discouraged by them but instead will determine to put them behind you and move forward to someday become a responsible and law abiding member of society. I believe in you and now you must believe in yourself knowing that it will be a long and difficult journey. Good luck, sir!”
Ejetsiak, 50, was most recently convicted of assault causing bodily harm after a December 2017 incident where he burned his friend repeatedly with a hot butter knife, which was being used to heat marijuana. The wounds were to the victim’s hands, the side of his head and his neck. Several years earlier, he’d broken the same friend’s elbow with a metal bar.
Ejetsiak has spent most of his adulthood in custody and he’s exhibited “terrible” behaviour during most of his time behind bars, the judge noted.
“His difficulty with anger control has been well documented while in jail. His disrespect for authority and mistrust of people make him easily agitated and aggressive with everyone he comes into contact,” reads the May 11 sentencing decision, which was circulated to the media on June 16.
A psychiatrist who has assessed Ejetsiak determined that he’s at a very high risk to offend again and “he poses a significant risk of harm to the public.” However, Tulloch stated that the overall convictions suggest “a moderate degree of violence.”
Tulloch described Ejetsiak’s childhood and years as a young adult as “horrific.” His parents drank throughout his early childhood. His father and siblings physically abused him. He wound up abusing alcohol and solvents at an early age and landed in foster care. At age 13 he suffered repeated sexual abuse by a teacher “who has been identified as one of the worst pedophiles in Nunavut’s history.”
His mother and one of his brothers were violently murdered in 1986 when he was 16 years old. Ejetsiak’s first spouse reportedly shot herself in front of their child, the judge added.
Ejetsiak’s lawyer argued that “Eetooloo requires circles of support and intensive programs focused on his unique and specific needs” and he believes he can get those needs met in Toronto.
The judge pointed out that Ejetsiak took full responsibility for his most recent assault and he said he planned to apologize to his victim. He’s also stayed out of trouble during his 27.5 months on remand. After years of avoiding rehabilitative programs, he attended counselling and successfully completed a four-week substance abuse program during his most recent stretch in custody.
“Any one of the horrific things that have happened to Eetooloo over the years is in my view, enough to explain the tremendous pain and anger that appears to have founded the unenviable criminal record that he now possesses,” the judge said, adding that the repeat offender likely suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. “The time has come for Eetooloo to get serious about treatment, rehabilitation and healing.”
“There is no doubt that what this accused needs most once he is released from custody and placed on a supervision order is structure. Eetooloo’s three basic needs are stable and consistent accommodation, employment and treatment,” Tulloch wrote in her sentencing decision.
Upon his release, Ejetsiak will be under a long-term supervision order for 10 years. He’s also banned from owning firearms for the rest of his life.