'Night of mayhem' at BCC nets more jail time for 2 men

Herbert Janes was sentenced for aggravated assault and Willie Ishulutak was sentenced for arson endangering life, for incidents that occurred during a 'night of mayhem' at the notorious Baffin Correctional Centre.
In November, 2012, some inmates started a fire in a night of mayhem at the notorious Baffin Correctional Centre. This morning in Iqaluit, Herbert Janes got three years for aggravated assault committed that night, and Willie Ishulutak was sentenced on Monday for arson endangering life.

Two Iqaluit men have been sentenced for events that took place during a "night of mayhem" at the Baffin Correctional Centre.

In November, 2012, some inmates set fire in a washroom at the jail, causing guards to move inmates to the gymnasium.

That was where 34-year-old Herbert Janes kicked, punched and assaulted another inmate, calling him a "rat." The victim was rescued by three guards and taken to hospital, where he got 11 stitches in his head.

This morning Janes pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for the beating. Janes had also been charged with arson but that charge was withdrawn.

The court heard that Janes was frustrated because plans to get drugs into the jail that day were botched.

The Crown says a mob mentality was brewing in the gym at that time, and that Janes is feared by many inmates.

A second fire was lit by other inmates in the gym closet, and there was more smoke.

Inmates and staff were then evacuated from the jail.

The Crown and defence jointly asked for a sentence of three years.

Justice Andrew Mahar agreed to the sentence, and called what Janes did that night “ridiculous, childish behaviour.”

Mahar says Janes committed this latest crime while "stone cold sober," and that all he has to do in jail is behave, but Mahar says, he appears unable to do that.

With time served, Janes now has one year left in jail.

Willie Ishulutak also sentenced

On Monday, Willie Ishulutak, 34, was also sentenced in connection with the fire.

He pleaded guilty to arson endangering human life and was sentenced to three years in prison.

He was also sentenced to additional time for a charge of assault — a charge that had been reduced from aggravated assault — and a charge of intimidating a justice participant.

He was given some credit for time spent in pre-trial custody. In total, Ishulutak has about two and a half years left to serve.

It's not the first time Ishulutak has got in trouble during his stay in BCC. 

Last July, he was sentenced to 60 days for assault and uttering threats to RCMP and hospital staff during a hospital visit where he was being treated for swallowing razor blades. At the time, he was spending 23 hours a day in a cell in isolation.

In March last year, he got another 14 months after pleading guilty to theft, possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking and for threatening to rape a jail guard, a week after the fire incident. 

The 2012 fire was the second in the overcrowded jail within a year, and the fourth since former Nunavut fire marshal Tony Noakes was dismissed from his job after raising concerns about safety at the jail.

In a report obtained by CBC News earlier this year, the Office of the Correctional Investigator described conditions at the jail “nothing short of appalling” and said it needs to be shut down.