Alcohol-fueled overreaction leads to assault conviction for Wiikwemkoong man

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GORE BAY—On the morning of September 12, 2020, Keegan Eshkawkogan of Wiikwemkoong pulled up in front of his then-girlfriend’s residence and began honking his horn continuously. It was before 10 am and her children were sleeping. When her brother went outside to ask Mr. Eshkawkogan to stop honking, Mr. Eshkawkogan left his vehicle and struck the complainant. 

The commotion brought the complainant’s brother to the scene. He witnessed his brother pressed against the side of the building by Mr. Eshkawkogan. The complainant was trying to evade Mr. Eshkawkogan’s punches, he said. Both the complainant and his brother were concerned about his being hit in the head because of a prior head injury.

Police attended immediately on being called. Staff Sergeant Scott Cooper of the Wikwemikong Tribal Police Services arrived at approximately 10:05 am and saw Mr. Eshkawkogan on the ground, being restrained by the complainant’s brother. 

During a hearing in Gore Bay on February 1, Staff Sergeant Cooper testified that at the time of his arrest, Mr. Eshkawkogan acted in a belligerent manner consistent with being under the influence, but that he ultimately settled down. Mr. Eshkawkogan smelled of alcohol and both Staff Sergeant Cooper and the complainant witnessed an alcoholic beverage just outside the car door. 

In her decision, Justice Wolfe determined that all of the witnesses spoke candidly and clearly about what they had observed on that date and found them to be credible and reliable. In particular, she said she had no concerns with the complainant’s evidence, even given his condition of an acquired brain injury.

“An assault is made out when the Crown proves beyond a reasonable doubt that an accused person applied force of any kind, deliberately and without the consent of the person to whom force was applied,” Justice Wolfe explained to the Court. 

“This was not a consensual fight,” she said. “Frankly, it sounds like an alcohol-induced overreaction that probably wouldn’t have gotten physical at all had Mr. Eshkawkogan not been under the influence. By all accounts, the parties knew each other and had no beefs with each other prior to this.”

Justice Wolfe found Mr. Eshkawkogan guilty of assault, contrary to section 266 of the Criminal Code. He was also found to be guilty of breaching a probation order by failing to keep the peace, contrary to section 733.1(1). of the Criminal Code.

A sentencing date will be set on February 15.