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Judge denies bail to Iglulik man facing multiple firearms offences

An Iglulik man facing eight firearms-related charges won't be granted the bail he's seeking as the judge in his case says releasing him would "undermine public confidence in the administration of justice."

An Iglulik man with a history of violating the terms of his bail will not be released once again while awaiting his court case to proceed, Justice Paul Bychok has decided.
NNSL file photo

Dennis Piugattuk was arrested on April 3, 2018 based on a firearms incident in Iglulik. He asked for bail shortly thereafter and it was granted on June 8, 2018 as a woman in the community agreed to act as his sponsor. However, on Sept. 11, 2018, Piugattuk assaulted the woman, who required medical attention as a result.

Piugattuk pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and violating the terms of his bail. He was sentenced to five months in jail and 12 months probation.

Still facing the firearms charges relating to the April 3, 2018 incident, Piugattuk again applied for bail after serving his time for the assault causing bodily harm.

In a decision dated June 14, Justice Paul Bychok turned down Piugattuk's bail request because Piugattuk has a "serious" history of violent criminal offences and disregarding bail conditions. Bychok cited the most recent incident as cause for particular concern.

"He must have known how precarious his continued freedom was in the circumstances. Still, he assaulted his (female sponsor) and sent her to the health centre where she needed
four stitches to close the wound on her head," Bychok stated. "...there is indeed a substantial likelihood that Mr. Piugattuk will reoffend if he is granted bail."

In the April 3, 2018 incident, Piugattuk is charged with pointing a firearm at a police officer who had responded to a report of violence. Upon arresting Piugattuk, the police stated that they seized six unlawfully stored and illegally possessed rifles.

"Mr. Piugattuk’s recent past behaviour is the best predictor of how he may be expected to behave in the future. The risk that he will reoffend is too great to permit his release again on these charges," said Bychok. "Public confidence in the justice system would be shaken if I were to re-release Mr. Piugattuk."

Piugattuk’s case is scheduled to return to court in Iqaluit on Aug. 12.