hi-north-cape-dorset

Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

A Nunavut judge has acquitted a Cape Dorset man on a charge of aggravated assault for spitting on an RCMP officer when he knew he had tuberculosis.

Niviaqsi Niviaqsi was arrested in January on the front steps of one of two grocery stores in Cape Dorset. 

He had assaulted a woman and police were called.  

The court heard that when RCMP put Niviaqsi in a police car, he was angry enough that several officers had to restrain him and they used pepper spray on him.

At the detachment, police asked Niviaqsi if he had any infectious diseases.

RCMP said he then intentionally coughed and spit on a member, knowing he had tuberculosis.

The defence argued Niviaqsi was just reacting to the pepper spray.

The RCMP member did not contract TB.

Justice Earl Johnson says the Crown did not prove that Niviaqsi's actions were intentional, and acquitted him of the charge.

He did sentence Niviaqsi to time served plus 12 months probation for the assault on the woman and other offences related to that incident.

The sentence also includes charges related to other offences in December 2013.

Though largely eradicated in much of Canada, Nunavut continues to battle tuberculosis, caused partly by overcrowding and poor nutrition.

Earlier this month, the health department said there have been 42 cases of tuberculosis in Nunavut so far this year, in 11 different communities.