In a rare, if not unprecedented decision in the Northwest Territories, a Supreme Court judge has lifted a publication ban on the name of a victim of a sexual assault and forcible confinement in Ndilo in 2017.
The victim, Cynthia Grandjambe of Yellowknife, had requested that the ban be lifted so she could tell her story in the hopes that other women never have to go through what she went through.
Sexual assault victims’ names are consistently covered by a publication ban by courts in the territory.
The publication ban was lifted Thursday at the conclusion of a sentencing hearing for Peter Tsetta.
The 50-year-old Ndilo man was convicted in August of two counts of sexual assault and one charge of forcible confinement after a judge-alone trial.
The Crown prosecutor in the case has asked for a ten-year prison sentence while Tsetta’s lawyer argued five years would be sufficient.
During the hearing Grandjambe read an emotional victim impact statement.
She says she has been scarred for life by the trauma and the physical and psychological harm inflicted upon her by Tsetta.
He has been in custody since the spring of 2017 when he was arrested for the second time on the same sexual assault and forcible confinement charges.
He was out on bail from the first charges when he committed the second offences roughly a month later.
Court heard both women were held against their will at Tsetta’s home and sexually assaulted.
The first victim has since passed away.
Grandjambe testified at trial that she was repeatedly sexually assaulted over several hours before she was able to get away from Tsetta.
She is furious with the RCMP which issued a news release following the first attack, while they were looking for Tsetta, stating that he was of no threat to public safety.
Grandjambe also wants an explanation as to why Tsetta was released on bail when he was accused of such serious offences.
“If neither of these things had happened I would not have been raped,” a courageous but bitter Grandjambe said outside court on Thursday. “I just don’t know how the RCMP can say a man charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement is of no threat to public safety. I read that and I believed that and that’s why I felt safe to go with him. I also don’t know why he was ever released on bail in the first place. It’s bulls**t.”
Grandjambe says she intends to file a complaint over the news release with The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP and is trying to find out if and how you can complain about a decision made by a JP.
RCMP defended their news release in an email to CKLB.
“With the information available at the time, a release March 30, 2017, requesting public assistance in locating Mr. Tsetta was issued. Information at the time did not indicate a public safety risk. Mr. Tsetta was taken into custody that same day, without public safety threat,” stated Marie York-Condon, spokesperson for the RCMP.
RCMP have also been criticized on social media for stating last month that a man from the Sahtu community of Tulita, charged with making child pornography, is also not a threat to public safety in that community.
They have refused to release that man’s name, citing the small population in Tulita.
The judge will give her decision on the length of Tsetta’s sentence on November 18.