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Former Norman Wells mayor doesn't show up for drug sentencing

A Yellowknife judge issued an arrest warrant Friday morning for former Norman Wells mayor Nathan Watson, after Watson failed to show up to be sentenced for cocaine possession.

Town lawyer also says Nathan Watson can't be found for lawsuit: 'Mr. Watson may have absconded'

Nathan Watson failed to show up to be sentenced for cocaine possession. (Submitted by Nathan Watson)

A Yellowknife judge issued an arrest warrant Friday morning for former Norman Wells mayor Nathan Watson, after Watson failed to show up to be sentenced for cocaine possession.

When Watson's case was called, legal aid lawyer Tracy Bock told the judge, "Mr. Watson contacted me this morning indicating he was in a car accident last Friday and due to medical appointments and travelling wasn't able to make it to court."

Judge Garth Malakoe issued a warrant for Watson's arrest, noting the sentencing had already been adjourned once because Watson failed to show up because of problems with his truck.

Watson was charged in October 2017. Police saw him fail to stop at a stop sign, and he subsequently failed a breathalyzer test and was arrested. RCMP said they found packets of cocaine in his jacket pocket.

A month later, his two-year run as mayor ended when the territorial government took over administration of the town.

Civil suit

In a different courtroom, at about the same time the criminal charge was being discussed, a lawyer representing the Town of Norman Wells said he's having a tough time finding Watson to serve him with notice of a lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges Watson and former town manager Catherine Mallon defrauded the town of $1.25 million.

"He's not been seen in Norman Wells in a couple of months," said lawyer Christopher Buchanan to the civil court judge. "It's our position that Mr. Watson may have absconded."

Buchanan applied for and received permission to serve Watson notice of the lawsuit via email. Watson did not respond to a Facebook message or a voicemail left on his phone.

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