Mistrial declared in Yellowknife sexual assault trial after accused asks for Tlicho interpreter

Yellowknife Courthouse (CKLB File photo).

A sexual assault trial ground to a halt on Tuesday in Yellowknife after the accused asked for a Tlicho interpreter.

Leon Nasken, 65, is facing a single count of sexual assault.

According to RCMP, he was charged in May of 2018 after a complaint from a woman.

It is not clear where in the city the assault is alleged to have occurred.

A jury was selected on Monday, but as the trial was about to begin Tuesday, Nasken asked for a Tlicho interpreter which is his right.

The judge granted Nasken’s request, the jury was dismissed and a mistrial was declared.

It’s believed that the court was not prepared to make the jurors wait while an interpreter was found by the court.

His lawyer tells CKLB that the need for an interpreter would have come up at a preliminary hearing but that Nasken waived his right to the hearing.

It is not entirely clear when a new trial will be held.

Nasken is assumed innocent until and if he is proven guilty at trial.



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.