David Joanasie, Nunavut MLA, avoids jail after driving drunk

A member of the Nunavut legislature who fled Charlottetown police after going the wrong way down a one-way street while driving drunk, has avoided jail time after pleading guilty.

South Baffin MLA went the wrong way down a one-way street while fleeing Charlottetown police

Nunavut MLA avoids jail after driving drunk 0:42

A member of the Nunavut legislature who fled Charlottetown police after going the wrong way down a one-way street while driving drunk, has avoided jail time after pleading guilty.

Thirty-one-year-old David Joanasie, who is the member for South Baffin, appeared before a judge in Charlottetown Thursday.

“I believe in the importance of taking personal responsibility for one’s own actions, which is why I pleaded guilty to the charges against me,” Joanasie said in a statement.

“Although this incident was out of character for me, I am deeply sorry for the impact that it has had on my family. I am committed to voluntarily obtaining counselling for alcohol abuse. I know that many people in Nunavut struggle with addictions, and I encourage anyone who is facing such challenges to seek help.”

In sentencing Joanasie, Judge John Douglas gave him credit for the night he spent in jail after his arrest and ordered him to pay a $1,200 fine along with $500 in victim surcharges.

Douglas also ordered Joanasie to donate $500 to a Nunavut charity that works with youth and addictions and banned him from driving for one year.

Douglas said he normally would impose additional time in jail for evading the police, but he didn't in this case and instead gave Joanasie a suspended sentence with one year of probation.

Breathalyzer tests showed Joanasie's blood alcohol level was more than double the legal limit.

Joanasie became the youngest territorial politician in Nunavut's history when he was elected to the legislature to represent Cape Dorset and Kimmirut in the fall of 2013.

Joanasie also apologized to his constituents in his statement this morning.

With files from The Canadian Press

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