Peter Tsetta trial resumes with hearing on whether woman’s statements to police and court before she died are admissible

Yellowknife Courthouse (CKLB File photo).

The Peter Tsetta trial resumed Tuesday in Yellowknife after adjourning back in May.

He’s the 50-year-old Ndilo man, charged with two counts of sexual assault and forcible confinement on two different female victims.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2017 at Tsetta’s home in Ndilo.

Court has already heard from his second alleged victim.

Now, what’s known as a “hearsay hearing,” essentially a trial within a trial, is underway.

It’s being held because the first alleged victim has since died.

However, the Crown prosecutor in the case is trying to get that woman’s statement to police and her testimony during a preliminary hearing in 2018, before she died, introduced as evidence.

Possibly in her way is the fact that the defence lawyer obviously cannot cross-examine the now-deceased woman.

The Crown has pointed out however that the woman was cross-examined by Tsetta’s lawyer during the preliminary hearing and that part of the court transcript would also become part of the evidence in the trial.

It’s been revealed during the trial that Tsetta’s neighbours were not interviewed at all by police until some two months after the alleged crimes.

That’s because one of the investigating RCMP officers was new to the Yellowknife detachment and wasn’t fully aware of the interview protocols.

The case has also been controversial with women’s advocates in Yellowknife because Tsetta had been granted bail on the first alleged offences before he allegedly re-offended in the exact same way – holding a woman in his home against her will and sexually assaulting her.

The judge is to make a ruling on the hearsay evidence – sometimes referred to as “testimony from beyond the grave” on Friday.

Tsetta remains in custody at the North Slave Correctional Complex (NSCC) where he has been since he allegedly re-offended in June of 2017.

He is being tried by a judge alone in Supreme Court.

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.