Abraham Bonnetplume will spend six months in jail for his joyride of an Inuvik firetruck in January.
Bonnetplume was sentenced on May 28 to 12 months in custody with 190 days of credit deducted for the time he has already spent in custody.
On January 19, after receiving a call about the town’s missing firetruck, Inuvik RCMP heard radio chatter of the truck being spotted on the Dempster Highway headed towards Fort McPherson.
Bonnetplume was stopped about 100 kilometres out of Inuvik, just north of Tsiigehtchic.
The officers noted that Bonnetplume showed signs of impairment though he refused their demand for a breath sample.
Considering Bonnetplume’s criminal record of related offences – 16 property offences and four prior impaired driving convictions – Territorial Judge Donovan Molloy told Bonnetplume he would have to spend time in custody.
He acknowledged that Bonnetplume faces “serious” Gladue factors, which played a significant factor in Molloy’s consideration along with his desire to seek treatment for alcoholism.
Following his sentence Bonnetplume will be on an eight-year driving prohibition and spend two years on probation.
During that time he will be barred from being in a motor vehicle unless it is solely operated by a sober adult. “That means you don’t sit alone in a car, you don’t sit alone on a Ski-Doo, stay away,” Molloy said.
As a condition for his probation, Bonnetplume will also be required to participate in a treatment program approved by the territorial government.
Molloy noted that going south for treatment, particularly for Indigenous people with a connection to the land, can be a challenge and commended Bonnetplume’s willingness to do so.
“When anyone agrees to do that they deserve credit for it,” Molloy said. “I hope in treatment you find a path that’s healthier than the one you’re on.”