Sep 15/95: Bruce Clark arrested


Bail hearing for five camp protesters turns into wrestling match

Victoria Times Colonist
Saturday Sept 16, p. A1
Dirk Meissner, Times Colonist staff

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only. It may contain biased and distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context.]


Bruce Clark fought the law - and the law won.

The controversial Ottawa native-rights lawyer was handcuffed Friday and taken to a holding cell for the weekend after a bail hearing for five Gustafsen Lake protesters turned into a wrestling match.

"I'll see you in court in Williams Lake on Monday," said Provincial Court Judge Nick Friesen, who cited Clark for contempt.

It took seven Mounties and four sheriffs to corral a squirming and swearing Clark and remove him from the courtroom. Clark did not take kindly to being handcuffed from behind.

He dived under a table at the front of the courtroom and tried to resist police efforts to capture him.

All the while, he swore at police and rebuked the court system.

"This kangaroo court will not succeed," Clark said.

"Filthy god damn fascist goons. Just following orders is not an excuse for genocide since 1948."

The commotion began about 9:40 a.m., when Clark burst into the courtroom and demanded to speak.

"Open the God damn door," he shouted. "Who's the Crown attorney here? I'm sitting at the counsel table."

Clark's anger rose when he realized the courtroom had been locked and only the media, police, court staff and a few natives were present.

"Are you mad?" he said. "Since the Magna Carta, courtrooms have not been locked."

Friesen refused to allow Clark to continue, saying the lawyer was not a member of the Law Society of B.C. Clark, who said he was acting for his clients on a pro bono basis, threw a nine-page document at the judge.

The document was a notice of motion seeking the immediate release of the five people.

Clark said the police have denied him access to his clients and he has not been able to obtain "fresh instructions" from them.

He accused the court of being guilty of treason, fraud and complicity in genocide.

The struggle began when Clark told officers standing behind him to "back up".

That's when one of the officers handcuffed Clark and the wrestling ensued. Nobody appeared to be hurt.

Things returned to normal after Clark was escorted from the courtroom.

The doors were opened and the bail hearing for the five began. All are charged with mischief and forcible detainment.

Edward Dick, Glenn Denault and Sheila Ignace, who is related to rebel camp leader William Ignace, were released on their own recognizance. They will be back in court Oct. 3. Ronald Dionne and Brent Potulicki were remanded in custody and will return to court next Tuesday.

RCMP Sgt. Peter Montague said Friday evening that Clark was behind bars at the 100 Mile House RCMP detachment. He will be transported to Williams Lake Monday.

Clark will also face charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a peace officer, Montague said.

Meanwhile, Shuswap negotiators were able to convince another native male to leave the camp at Gustafsen Lake, Montague said.

He said police were interviewing the man at headquarters at in 100 Mile House. His name was not released.

Montague said John Stevens, a Cree spiritual leader from Alberta, will enter the camp today to speak with the protesters.

Stevens is an acquaintance of Percy Rosette, the protester who brought the Sundance ceremony to 100 Mile House, Montague said.

The protesters, who call themselves defenders of the Shuswap, say the Gustafsen Lake site is sacred. Sundance ceremonies have been held there.

Earlier this week, Arvol Looking Horse, a Sioux holy man and keeper of the Sundance ceremony, met with the protesters in the camp.

Tom Dennis, a Shuswap spokesman, said Looking Horse was able to soften the tension surrounding the camp and move the peace process forward.

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