Editor’s note: This story contains graphic details that may be disturbing to some readers.

A Nunavut man who “waged a campaign of terror” against his one of his victims over many years, among a litany of other violent crimes, has been declared a long-term offender.

David Mikkigak, 41, was sentenced in February to 6.5 years in prison for an aggravated assault — his most recent vicious act against one of his numerous victims.

On April 12, 2019, Mikkigak, while intoxicated, left a woman with a broken arm after he hit her with a chair, punched her and jumped on her face and head after knocking her down. Also suffering from a cut scalp and bruised face and body, the victim was sent to Ottawa twice for additional medical care.

His full criminal record consists of 87 offences; 45 of those convictions for assaults and threatening behaviour.

“Mr. Mikkigak has not spent any significant amount of time out of jail since his criminal record started in 2001 … his pattern of anger, jealousy, and controlling behaviour towards women, is persistent even while sober,” chief justice Neil Sharkey stated.

Despite all of his years in jail, there was “little success in terms of treatment,” Sharkey noted. Although Mikkigak participated in therapeutic programming, he “displayed markedly disruptive and uncooperative behavior during treatment sessions,” the court decision states.

While in a federal prison, he expressed willingness to partake in treatment, but was denied due to waitlists.

He declined to be interviewed by a psychiatrist. However, based on extensive file material and conversations with Mikkigak’s family, the psychiatrist identified “jealousy, and power and control combined with lifestyle instability and active intoxication” as factors contributing to the offender’s troubling behaviour.

Mikkigak recently disclosed to probation services and the RCMP that he was sexually abused between the ages of seven and 12 and has since seen his abuser in Iqaluit.

“He readily acknowledges … his need for counselling. This abuse is obviously something which has had a significant impact upon Mr. Mikkigak’s early childhood development, and in turn his addiction to alcohol.” Sharkey stated Mikkigak had started drinking at age 16 and noted cannabis use as early as age 7.

The prospects for the offender’s rehabilitation in Nunavut are limited, the chief judge noted, because “the situation is dire; half of all programs at our Iqaluit correctional facility are not up and running because of staff shortages. The court was told the programs will not be running for another six months to one year.”

The judge added that “the programming in our territorial jail is essentially of an educational nature and not near the therapeutic level of intensive group or individual counselling offered in the federal system.”

Sharkey noted that it’s exceptional for a court to designate someone as a long-term offender. The label is reserved for those who have been convicted of a serious personal injury offence — or certain sex offences — and pose an ongoing threat to the public.

“I find that the Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that there is a substantial risk that the offender will reoffend,” Sharkey stated.

Based on Mikkigak’s time spent in custody awaiting the conclusion of his court case — since April 2019 — he will only have 27 months to serve on his sentence.

Long-term offenders are automatically subject to a long-term supervision order. In Mikkigak’s case, he will be supervised by federal parole services at a halfway house in southern Canada for four years upon his release from prison. The supervision order can be extended for up to 10 years, if deemed appropriate.

Although Sharkey made his ruling on Mikkigak’s long-term offender status and sentenced him on Feb. 10, he only released his written reasons for decision on April 14.

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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