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Canoe adventure leads woman to time in jail

Jennifer Geens
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 10/06) - A 31-year-old woman was sentenced in Yellowknife territorial court Tuesday to one month in jail for possession of a stolen canoe.

The woman was rescued from Yellowknife Bay between the coast guard wharf in Old Town and Jolliffe Island on the evening of July 12, 2005 by the coast guard auxiliary, according to facts presented by Crown counsel John MacFarlane.

She was intoxicated at the time, "appeared to be fleeing someone," and was crying. Upon reaching shore, she asked to be driven home and the RCMP complied.

The coast guard held on to the canoe she had been found in, along with a lifejacket and crutches found inside the canoe.

Later that day, the RCMP got a call from a houseboater near Jolliffe Island reporting a missing canoe, lifejacket and crutches. The canoe and its contents were returned to the houseboater, and the woman was charged with possession of goods obtained by crime.

Crown counsel said the woman had previous convictions for theft, but since she had pleaded guilty and the property was recovered, suggested a one-day sentence as a warning that future property offences would bring lengthier jail sentences.

Defence counsel Daniel Rideout said though his client does not have a problem with alcohol, she was intoxicated at the time, and agreed with the Crown's sentencing suggestion.

However, territorial court Judge Robert Gorin said the accused's criminal record of other property offences "causes me a great deal of concern." He ruled imprisonment was necessary.