Jul 3/96: Gustafsen Lake-Senior RCMP on witness stand



July 3, 1996

SURREY, B.C. - RCMP Deputy Commissioner Dennis Farrell and Assistant Commissioner Denis Brown did not show up in court today in response to a subpoena. Defense lawyers made the point that if anyone else had failed to appear in response to a subponea would result in warrents being issued.

A Vancouver Sun article [April 12, 1996 Front page] written by Jeff Lee who used the Freedom of Information Act to acquire documents relating to the use of the military at Gustafsen Lake says the following about Farrell and Brown:

The unsigned memo quoted Sutherland [Colonel Bill Sutherland, senior operations officer for the army] as saying RCMP deputy commissioner Dennis Farrell and assistant commissioner Denis Brown had briefed Dosanjh on the fight [the alleged Sept. 11 incident] and were considering giving the military the lead. Mr. Lee quotes the memo:

"After the meeting, Brown implied in conversation with Colonel Sutherland that the provincial attorney-general is receptive to signing a letter requesting further assistance or even requesting the CF (Canadian Forces) take the operation over."
Later the same article states: "....the military began assuming a role in the operation within days of being asked for help by Farrell on Aug. 18."

Judge Josephson ordered that Farrell and Brown appear in court on July 4, 1996 to answer questions on what the policy was regarding the use of force against the Shuswap during the RCMP operation at Gustafsen Lake, what their participation was in forming this policy and why was this policy formed. It is expected that they will also be questioned concerning the testimony of an RCMP member of the ERT team, Sgt. Armstrong who was on the stand July 2, 1996. Sgt. Armstrong testified that he had been one of the experts that laid the land mines around the camp, one of which blew up a truck on September 11, 1996 when two camp members went to the lake for water. Asked about his orders, he stated that officers had been giving a green light by Supt. Len Ofert to shoot to kill. When asked about whether the persons in the red truck were armed, he replied that although he could see no weapons and he was never fired upon, he heard over the radio that they were armed. He fired 30 to 50 rounds at the fleeing camp members as they ran towards the lake. The RCMP's own disclosures now state that the two persons in the truck were not armed and they did not fire on the officers.

JULY 4, 1996
Senior RCMP officials Dennis Farrell and Denis Brown on the stand.
Surrey Court 9:30 am

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