Yellowknife man gets 38 months for fourth sex assault conviction

Frankie James Eyakfwo was sentenced Wednesday to a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for his fourth sexual assault conviction.

On July 1, 2019, the victim of the assault was visiting Yellowknife from her home community in Nunavut. Eyakfwo, whom the victim had never met, offered to walk her home. While walking through an alley, Eyakfwo pulled down the victim’s pants and then his own. He raped the woman and left. 

The victim reported the assault to the RCMP and was taken to the hospital. A sample extracted from her sexual assault examination found male DNA. Eyakfwo’s DNA was already in the national database from prior assault convictions and was found to match the victim’s swab. 

Standard procedure requires RCMP to request an additional sample from Eyakfwo. The results came back in June 2020 and confirmed Eyakfwo’s match. He was then arrested, charged and remanded into custody.

Frankie James Eyakfwo will serve a 30 month sentence in a federal facility following his fourth sexual assault conviction from a July 2019 offence. Natalie Pressman/NNSL photo

The Canada day offence happened mere weeks after Eyakfwo was released from custody for sexual assault charges incurred in 2018 – a case where he assaulted a sleeping victim.

In a joint submission, Crown Prosecutor Morgan Fane and defence lawyer Jessi Casebeer recommended Eyakfwo serve 38.5 months, or 30 months after deducting his credit for time in pre-trial custody.

The two-and-a-half year sentence means Eyakfwo will serve his time in a federal correctional facility. 

In rendering her decision, Justice Louise Charbonneau called the sentence “extremely restrained.” 

She explained that her discretion is greatly reduced when presented with a joint submission and that while the 30 month sentence “is likely not the submission (she) would have imposed,” she could not say the joint recommendation is unreasonable and would therefore accept it. 

Though, she said “the sentence should not be seen as having precedential value and is not how this court manages serious sex offences like this one.”

Charbonneau also noted that the sentence is only slightly longer than the term Eyakfwo served for his last offence – a 30-month sentence that left Eyakfwo with only nine months in a correctional facility after his credit for pre-trial custody had been deducted. 

Acknowledging how soon after his release the most recent offence occurred, Charbonneau said it was clear that rehabilitation had not been achieved. 

Charbonneau noted public safety as a concern. While she said she believes Eyakfwo when he says he wants to change, “particular care should be taken when he is eligible for release,” she said. 

Though Eyakfwo has a number of prior convictions, starting with charges from 2003 when he was only 14, Charbonneau noted that this would be the first time he was in federal custody and had access to federal programming. 

Charbonneau told Eyakfwo that he was lucky the Crown was not asking him to be designated a long term offender or dangerous offender. 

While the court heard Eyakfwo was himself a victim of abuse and violence in childhood, Charbonneau said that no matter the offender’s background, if a person is continuously causing harm to others, there comes a point where the court doesn’t have a choice.

“Removing that person from the community becomes a necessity,” she said. 

The court heard that Eyakfwo had returned to his home community of Whati before his most recent arrest. Letters of support indicated Eyakfwo has family support in Whati and that he had been doing well in the months he had returned.  

Charbonneau said that while his time is Whati was short, it shows hope for a brighter future when he has the support of his home community. 

The court also heard that Eyakfwo has skills on the land and, through drawings rendered to the court, artistic ability. Charbonneau told the court that Eyakfwo’s drawings are beautiful and that he “obviously has talents and skills and can use them to lead a more productive life.”

Charbonneau told the court that Eyakfwo, 31, is still young and that she believes him when he says he is sorry and doesn’t want to spend his life in jail. 

After delivering her decision, Eyakfwo’s lawyer indicated that he had a drawing he wished to provide the judge. 

Charbonneau thanked him, but said that judges need to be careful about receiving offerings because of how it may be perceived. She told him the drawing would stay on the court file but that she would not keep it personally. 

An additional firearm prohibition will be placed on Eyakfwo for 10 years after his release from custody.

He will remain on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life.

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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