February 21, 1997
Jurors at the Gustafsen Lake trial in Surrey were yesterday shown RCMP videotape acquired by the defence, in which an RCMP negotiator stated that it was not the first time flak jackets had to be "taken to the firing range".
These and other alarming comments by policeman John Ward came on the third day of the defence arguments. The remarks captured on videotape referred to an alleged shooting incident in early September 1995, in which members of the Victoria ERT (Emergency Response Team) said they were ambushed by members of the Gustafsen Lake encampment. This RCMP version has always been denied by the defendants, who believe the fabricated incident was used to foment hatred against them and justify the involvement of the Canadian Army.
The bulletproof vests credited with saving the officers' lives were shown on a nationally televised broadcast a week later. The irregularities with the story were commented on by many, especially when it was revealed that no slugs had been discovered. One of the officers said that he had thrown this necessary evidence "out the window" at the time of the shooting.
The trial continues before Justice Bruce Josephson who has refused to allow defendants' request to play the police videotape in its entirety, or to allow Dr. Bruce Clark to make jurisdictional arguments.
Please act to defend the Gustafsen Lake defenders and counsel of choice Dr. Bruce Clark. Sample letters, addresses and links to email for politicians (posted previously) can be found on the SISIS site, at: http://kafka.uvic.ca/~vipirg/SISIS/gustlake/letter.html