A former band councillor is backing up a woman's claim that she was sexually assaulted by Dettah, N.W.T., chief Edward Sangris.

The Dettah chief was a band councillor between 1986 and 1996, when the woman says he assaulted her.

In court Wednesday, former band councillor Rick Edjericon told the jury about a special meeting called to deal with the sexual assault allegations. He said it took place in the Dettah band office in January 1996, after the woman wrote a letter telling the chief and council she was assaulted by Sangris.

Edjericon, who now chairs the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, said the council wanted to deal with the matter internally rather than turning it over to the RCMP to avoid embarrassing the community and the families involved.

He said the chief at the time, Jonas Sangris, excused himself from the meeting because he is Edward Sangris' brother.

Edjericon said the council accepted the allegations as true. He said Edward Sangris was called in at the end of the meeting and asked to resign.

Edjericon said, confronted with the allegations, Sangris agreed to give up his seat on the council.

Earlier in the trial, Sangris' lawyer suggested Sangris resigned because his work at a mine had caused him to miss too many council meetings.

Conflicting testimony

There was conflicting testimony in court Wednesday.

Sangris himself testified that the meeting and his resignation was about him missing too many band council meetings.

Sangris said he never went to the band council office in the mornings when the woman said she was assaulted.

Jonas Sangris also testified that his brother resigned because he was missing council meetings.

Jonas Sangris said the first he heard of any sexual assault allegations was when his brother was charged in 2011.

Edward Sangris' wife also testified. She told the jury that the woman accusing her husband was actually pursuing him. She said the woman would call their home late at night, apparently drunk, asking to speak to him.