Apr 23/96: Gustafsen Lake-Media ban lift sought


The Vancouver Sun
Tuesday, April 23, 1996, p. B1
Neal Hall

A lawyer acting for The Vancouver Sun will go to court today to oppose a ban on publication of evidence imposed Monday at a bail hearing for two native Indian men charged with the attempted murder of two police officers during the armed standoff at Gustafsen Lake last summer.

Rob Anderson will argue the ban should be lifted at the 90-day bail review for Jones William Ignace, also known as Wolverine, and his son, Joseph Ignace, 24.

The father and son are the only two accused in custody among the 18 charged in connection with the month-long standoff at Gustafsen Lake.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Vickers imposed the ban Monday after it was requested by Crown prosecutor Lance Bernard during a hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

Neither of the Ignaces asked for the ban on publication. In fact, at previous court appearances, Jones Ignace said he wants the public to know the truth about what happened during the month-long armed standoff near 100 Mile House.

Defence lawyer George Wool suggested earlier that Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh misled the public by feeding the media incorrect information.

Wool plans to call Dosanjh and possibly then-premier Mike Harcourt as witnesses at the trial, due to start June 3 in Surrey.

The armed standoff was called Camp Overtime because it involved hundreds of RCMP officers and cost the taxpayers $5 million.

The dispute arose after native Indians holding an annual spiritual sundance ceremony decided to continue camping at the ranch of Lyle James and were confronted by armed cowhands who decided the sundancers had overstayed their welcome.

The accused, most of whom are farmers and ranchers from the B.C. Interior, earlier failed to have the trial moved to Kamloops, which would be closer to home.

They argued a trial in Surrey will be a financial hardship. The trial is expected to take all summer and hear evidence from more than 100 witnesses.

The attorney-general has asked that the trial be held at the Surrey courthouse because it has the most secure courtroom in B.C.

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