A charge of aggravated assault Willard Hagen, former deputy minister of the NWT Department of Lands, was stayed in Yellowknife court Jan. 13.

Hagen, 72, was accused of assault last February. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

An aggravated assault charge against Willard Hagen was stayed in court Jan. 13. NNSL file photo

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A stayed charge, like dropped charges, means the Crown will discontinue prosecution. Stayed charges however, can still be brought back to the courts within one year.

Crown prosecutor Nikita McFadden, stayed the charges on Wednesday, the day Hagen’s preliminary inquiry was set to begin, though she didn’t say why. 

Hagen resigned from his post as the Department of Lands deputy minister last September following a racially charged Facebook comment attacking Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly. He called O’Reilly a “racist asshole” [sic] and a “white boy who thinks he has all the solutions because he’s a white boy.”

Hagen is also a bush pilot and founder of Aklak Air. He is the former president of the Gwich’in Tribal Council, former director of the Métis Development Corporation, and a former chair of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

Natalie Pressman

Reporting courts and cops and general news, Natalie started with NNSL Media in 2020. Before moving to Yellowknife, Natalie worked as a community radio trainer in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First...

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