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Jail for Yk woman who stabbed victim in head

A woman who stabbed a victim in the forehead less than a month after punching an unsuspecting pedestrian in downtown Yellowknife received jail time for the pair of unprovoked attacks.

Hilary Catholique, 29, was sentenced to seven months in custody during her hearing in NWT territorial court on May 29.

Catholique was drinking at a Sissons Court residence in Yellowknife with another woman on March 18 when she carried out the sudden attack. She stabbed the victim above her eyebrow with a knife, the court heard.

The woman tried to flee the residence, but Catholique held her back, telling the victim “you’re not going anywhere,” according to an agreed statement of facts read by prosecutor Mina Connelly.

The victim, left with a five centimetre gash on her forehead, was hospitalized. She required stitches. She also sustained slashes to her thumb and wrist — defensive wounds suffered during the stabbing, according to Connelly.

Police and paramedics respond to a stabbing at Sissons Court on March 18. Hilary Catholique, 29, later pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon. She was handed a seven-month jail sentence last week. Brendan Burke/NNSL photo.

Catholique pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon. She also entered a guilty plea to an assault outside the Gold Range Bar on the afternoon of February 20. An intoxicated Catholique, who had just been kicked out of Centre Square Mall, punched a woman who declined to share a cigarette with her.

Catholique was arrested later that day but was soon released on house arrest conditions. At the time of the February assault, Catholique was already on probation for a previous assault conviction. Less than two weeks later, she was again arrested for breaching her court conditions — a charge she also pleaded guilty to.

The court heard Catholique has been convicted of multiple assaults since 2011, receiving conditional sentences, fines and probation orders, but never jail time.

That changed last week.

“Currently, her actions pose a danger to the community,” said Judge Garth Malakoe, rejecting defence lawyer Paul Falvo’s request to have Catholique released on house arrest in her home community of Lutsel K’e.

Falvo said his client wanted to get away from the negative influences in Yellowknife.

But with no direct explanation for the “unprovoked” and “frightening” pair of assaults, Malakoe said he had no choice but to hand down a jail sentence in order to keep residents safe and deter violence in the future.

Significant Gladue factors

Catholique’s struggles with addictions have played a large role in her criminal behaviour, Malakoe stressed.

He said there are significant Gladue factors -- challenging circumstances that have impacted the lives of Indigenous people -- present in Catholique's life and upbringing, one marked by abuse and violence.

"Catholique is a product of her environment. She is the result of all the bad things that happened (to her)," said Malakoe.

With counselling, which Catholique is motivated to complete, Malakoe said there's hope she can address the underlying addiction and trauma issues that have fueled her criminal convictions.

With credit for time served, Catholique will have about four-and-half months left to serve;  followed by a year of probation.

She's required to submit a DNA order and has been banned for owning firearms for five years.