Andersen evades jail for sex assault

A high-profile Inuit politician in Labrador has been given a conditional discharge for a 2007 sexual assault.

A high-profile Inuit politician in Labrador has been given a conditional discharge for a 2007 sexual assault.

William Andersen III, a former member of the house of assembly and an active player in Inuit politics for many years, was given a conditional discharge Friday at provincial court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

The Crown had wanted Andersen to be jailed for between two to four months for the assault, which took place in 2007.

But defence lawyer Bill Collins had argued that a conditional sentence was more appropriate. During a hearing last week, the defence argued that Andersen has been out of trouble since the charge was laid, and is also now unemployed.

Judge William English ruled that if Andersen is on good behaviour after one year, the charge will be dismissed.

Andersen must also give three public talks about alcohol and respecting women, as well as what he has learned through the court system.

Andersen, who represented Torngat Mountains district in the house of assembly between 1993 and 1996, later became president of the Nunatsiavut government in Labrador. Andersen stepped down from that role in November 2007, while the charge was being investigated.