Apr 30/97: Last-minute dirty tricks to steer trial



Wednesday, April 30, 1997

Jones William Ignace, aka Wolverine, the Shuswap elder charged with attempted murder for firing at the oncoming wheels of a 14 ton APC attempting to run him over, gave his final address to the jury Tuesday.

And for the occassion, the court had arrayed guns, ammunition, knives, and the rest of their assorted exhibits directly in front of the jury. In addition, judge Bruce Josephson has indicated he will require 3 days to "charge the jury".

S.I.S.I.S. has learned that Josephson intends to go through the testimony of virtually every witness to "point out some of the evidence you will want to consider on these issues." Josephson has also overruled objections to both the crown prosecutor, Lance Bernard, and his assistant Jennifer Fawcus, makeing closing statements to the jury, preceeding Josephson's own three day "reprogramming."

Several defendants and observers were outraged at these latest in a long list of "irregularities." Self represented defendant Sheila Franklin said that Josephson has repeatedly said "that the facts are for the jury to decide, the law is for me to decide." The effect of both crown lawyers and the three day "steering session" by Justice Bruce Josephson along with the inducements to a breakaway faction whose lawyer turned against the traditional-sovereigntist position, are further demonstrations of the need for the independent impartial third party tribunal demanded by the Tspeten Defenders.

The Defenders are also demanding a full and comprehensive inquiry into the Gustafsen Lake matter, and the involvement of the highest levels of the NDP Provincial Government, as well as that of federal officials. Although both Liberal and NDP house leaders in Ontario have called for an inquiry into government involvement in the Stoney Point shooting of native protestors there, no similar statements have been forthcoming from the corrupt and complicit BC Legislature.



Canadian Alliance In Solidarity With Native Peoples
CASNP 39 Spadina Rd. Toronto ON M5R 2S9
phone (416) 972-1673 fax (416) 972-6232
website: http://www.pathcom.com/~casnp
e-mail: casnp@pathcom.com

PRESS RELEASE - April 30, 1997

CASNP. Toronto. 30-Apr-97. Fourteen Aboriginal and four non-Aboriginal supporters, originally referred to as the "Ts'Peten Sundance Defenders of the Shuswap Nation" have been on trial for 11 months on charges of mischief, weapons and attempted murder by Jones 'Wolverine' Ignace.

The trial is coming to a close with a verdict from the jury expected sometime during the week of May 5th 1997. At Gustafsen Lake in British Columbia, the month long siege in the summer of 1995 questioned the title to Shuswap land and Canadian jurisdiction on unceded Indian lands. Canada responded by sending in the para-military forces of the RCMP with military weapons and armaments and calling the defendants "terrorists" and "rebels" to shut them up.

For the first time in Canadian history the presiding judge is allowing the prosecution to split and for two people to address the jury which will take 2 days. The Judge is taking 3 days himself to instruct the jury, which is unprecedented. This sounds more like a de-briefing. The judge also allowed the weapons that the RCMP claim they got from the sundance camp to be displayed 'like a shooting gallery' in front of the jury 'until the trial is finished. In response, the defendant demanded that the RCMP armaments also be displayed such as the machine guns, 50 caliber machine guns, sniper rifles on a tripod, as well as the M16's used against the people in the camp. The judge agreed but not to APC's and other military hardware which would have filled the courtroom.

Throughout the trial the judge showed prejudice by cutting off the defendants who tried to bring up the jurisdictional issue. They continually reminded the court of the 1763 Royal Proclamation and the 1867 constitution which confirm aboriginal sovereignty, nationhood and title to North America.

However, the Judge could not stop Dr. Bruce Clark, Aboriginal rights lawyer, from putting the historic legal principles into the judicial' system when he took the stand as a witness. A bound transcript of his 1500 page testimony will be available to anyone interested in the jurisdictional argument. He explains carefully how jurisdiction was assumed illegally by the colony of Canada over sovereign Aboriginal nations, their lands and resources.

The judicial system used the old colonial strategy of 'divide and rule' by splitting the defendants into two groups. One of the lawyers (Tate) who spoke for some of the non-Aboriginal defendants, turned against the others and took the government's position on the jurisdiction issue. Eventually Tate was fired by Suniva Bronson and Trond Halle. However, both factions in the split off groups continue to work against the legitimate 'color of right' defense and have trashed Dr. Bruce Clark's knowledgeable stand on Aboriginal jurisdiction. One observer explained this split happened, "Because of judicial interference".

CASNP and those who have been following this case expect the jury to: acquit all of the defendants, including the "sell outs"; to recommend that the government bring the land issues to an impartial third party tribunal; and to recommend that a public inquiry be convened to look into the illegal tactics conducted by the RCMP and government officials, such as the smear and misinformation campaign, the firing of 77,000 rounds of ammunition at the defendants and other illegalities.

One of the worst findings revealed in RCMP notes during the trial is that the RCMP and their higher ups planned the whole episode three months before the events erupted in August 1995. The rancher, Lyle James, the user of the property where the standoff happened, was used by the RCMP, "probably by threatening him", said a reliable source.

Another observer said, "I find it strange that the judge told the defendants, during the absence of the jury, that they can't use the color of right argument in this case. He tried to talk them into taking the route of self-defense to protect themselves". The judge did this because, "He is trying to eliminate the jurisdictional argument that we have successfully put before the jury". He fears that the judge in his instructions to the jury will tell them that self-defense is adequate in order to kill a decision based on the color of right and constitutional position, thus leaving it as a criminal charge. "The judge in manipulating the jury is as guilty as the RCMP of being part of the iIlegal attack on the defendants".

CASNP and its supporters have been and continue to be supportive of the Ts'Peten Sundance Defendants through this struggle and awaits the jury's decision.

Register your support now for the Gustafsen Lake defendants. Contact: 604-543-9661 or Fax 604-323-0224.

Updates: CASNP 416-972-1573, Fax 416-972-6232

Demand an inquiry and third party hearing: Fax B.C Premier Clark 604 253-7905; Minister of Indian Affairs Ron Irwin 819 953-4941; Prime Minister Chretien 613 941-6900

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