Kenneth Arreak, a Nunavut man, has been granted day parole less than four years after beating and kicking his common-law wife to death in front of their young children while drunk and high.
Louise Killiktee, 33, was killed in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, on the night of Dec. 29, 2010, following a family holiday dinner. Arreak, 35, was arrested the same night.
Originally charged with second-degree murder, Arreak was later convicted of manslaughter.
In October 2012, after almost two years at the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit, he was sentenced to a further three years and three months in a federal prison, though the Crown lawyer in the case had asked for five to seven more years.
At the time, many in Nunavut said the sentence was too light, including Mary Kayaksark, a member of the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council, who said it sent the wrong message.
"That men can get away with assaulting in the house in Nunavut,” she told CBC News. “That they can assault their spouses in front of their children and the children are gonna be hurt."
In a hearing on July 22, the Parole Board of Canada found Arreak has accepted responsibility for his offence and suffered genuine remorse.
“Your children and other family members and in-laws have suffered serious harm as a result of what you did and you fully appreciate that,” the board’s decision reads.
Arreak’s day parole means he’ll be able to take part in Inuit cultural programming at an unnamed institution. It is not available at the prison where he’s serving his sentence.
His day parole comes with several conditions.
Arreak is not allowed to consume alcohol or illegal drugs or enter bars or nightclubs. He’s prohibited from having any direct contact with anyone involved in criminal activity. And he’s required to report any friendship or intimate relationship with a woman to his parole supervisor.
Relationship marked by ‘violence, abuse’
In its decision, the parole board notes that Arreak’s relationship with Killiktee “was troubled by violence, substance abuse and alleged infidelity.”
At the time of the offence, Arreak was on probation for sexual assault and possession of a controlled substance.
“You were stressed as you were unemployed, drinking heavily, snorting your anti-depressant medication and smoking marijuana,” the board said.
It also notes that Arreak had prior convictions for assault against Killiktee and for sexual assault against another woman, and that he was involved in an armed standoff with police in November 2007.
During pre-trial custody at the Baffin Correctional Centre, Arreak was involved in seven violent incidents where he was identified as the aggressor and six incidents where he was the victim.
While serving his sentence, Arreak took part in sex offender programming as well as programs related to substance abuse and family violence, though some concerns were expressed about his “less than stellar” participation.
He also received psychological counselling.
Arreak is due to be released in January 2016.
A carver with a Grade 10 education, Arreak told the parole board he hopes to honour Killiktee so that he can proceed to be a good father to the couple’s four children.