Fort Liard teen convicted of manslaughter and sexual assault

Fort Liard man was not killed by bear, NWT coroner says

A Fort Liard, N.W.T., teenager who sexually assaulted a girl after encouraging her to drink a fatal amount of vodka will be sentenced in December.

The teenager had pleaded guilty to sexual assault causing bodily harm, but not to the charge of manslaughter. He was convicted of manslaughter by Judge Robert Gorin in July.

Crown and defense lawyers filed submissions on both charges on Friday.

Gorin reserved his sentencing decision in the case until December 19.

According to the agreed statement of facts, the teenager and a friend drank with the girl until she passed out in October 2015. He then sexually assaulted her.

Both the youth and his friend left the girl unconscious near a river in Fort Liard as the weather dropped to 0°C.

The girl’s body was discovered near the river the next day. In previous trials in the case, an expert testified that the girl died of alcohol poisoning.

The identity of the convicted juvenile, the victim and the witnesses is protected by a publication ban.

“I don’t believe anything he says,” the judge said

At the trial, the youth testified that he “couldn’t remember” encouraging the girl to drink or sexually assaulting her.

In Gorin’s written decision in the July 26 manslaughter case, he said he found the boy’s testimony “problematic.”

“I find that he did this to exonerate himself from the crime he had committed,” the judge said.

“On key points I don’t believe anything he says.”

Gorin said the teen gave the girl and her friend the alcohol and he “knew full well” that someone who drank too much could pass out.

Even though it would have been very easy to get help, he didn’t. – Judge Robert Gorin

“I find that he knew that she could be so intoxicated that she could choke on her vomit. He put her on her side to stop her,” Gorin said.

“As I have already argued, this shows that he was aware of the risks of excessive alcohol consumption.”

Instead of seeking her help, Gorin pointed out that the teenager sexually abused the victim and then left her alone. The judge said the girl was alive when the two boys abandoned her.

“(He) knew she needed help. Although it would have been very easy to get help, he did not,” the decision states.

“I think the reason why he did what he did is very obvious. He didn’t want to get caught for the crime he had just committed.”

The judge said if the victim had been given help when she needed it, “her chances of survival would have been significantly increased.”