Jun 9/97: Vigil and sentencing for Ts'Peten Defenders

S.I.S.I.S. Bulletin


June 9, 1997

About fifty supporters gathered for a candle-light vigil to drum, sing and wait beneath the walls of the Surrey Pre-trial Centre where Ts'Peten Defenders OJ Pitawanakwat and Wolverine (William Jones Ignace) are being held. Sometimes tiny answering flames or lights flicking on and off could be seen emanating from the prison windows. It is the night before the day they have asked Judge Bruce Josephson to "get on with it" and pass sentence.

Both Wolverine and OJ have rejected a "sentencing circle" which could include the American cattle rancher Lyle James, the RCMP, and the mayor of 100 Mile House. Characterized as a "traditional native Indian form of sentencing" by BC's mainstream media, this grotesque abomination is a neo-colonial creation designed to restore the credibility of badly discredited parties to the Gustafsen Lake affair -- the RCMP, local band and tribal council officials, the rancher, the NDP government and its corrupt court system.

Haida elder Lavina White told S.I.S.I.S. that the sentencing circle "was not our way. This is all pretend, to make it look like our people don't support our freedom fighters."

Shuswap elder Wolverine told S.I.S.I.S. "We're raising the land question. A sentencing circle including Lyle James would say it's his land, but the law has never been dealt with. This is one of the ways the province is trying to get around the whole thing."

Defence counsel Sheldon Tate attempted a highly offensive and divisive defence by arguing that his clients, including Percy Rosette, were "under the thumb of the militants." On June 6, Tate told Canadian Press "My clients have a wish not to persecute or bring down this country or cause more rancour or dissension."

All indications are that the prosecution is seeking harsh sentences. Crown sentencing materials obtained by S.I.S.I.S. include a "victim impact statement" by Lyle James and Sentencing Authorities which include:

"R. v. Belmas, Hanson and Taylor [aka the Squamish Five] (1986) 27 C.C.C. (3d) 142 (B.C.C.A.) Numerous criminal acts including bombings causing millions of dollars in damage and injuring two persons. Motive said to be concerns over environment, nuclear war, and poverty. Apparent accused had not renounced violence to achieve ends. Protection of public by deterring terrorist acts paramount."

"R. v. Atwal (1990) 57 C.C.C. (3d) 143 (B.C.C.A.) Attempted murder of Indian Cabinet Minister. 20 years imprisonment upheld. Act of political terrorism. General deterrence paramount consideration."

"R. v. Cross, unreported, Feb. 29/92 (Que. S.C.) Oka. PDW convictions - 6 months, 18 months, 2 years imprisonment. 1 year s. 100 prohibition."

"R. v. Gautier (1996) 108 C.C.C.C. (3d) 231 (B.C.C.A.) Trial Judge not required to give the accused the benefit of the most favourable view of the evidence, where jury's verdict doesn't resolve."

It appears that the court will attempt to manufacture a "conspiracy" in the sentencing even though "conspiracy" was never part of the original charges or indictments.

Letters of solidarity, support and resistence, as well as your prayers and ceremonies on behalf of Wolverine and the Ts'Peten Defenders continue to be called for and greatly appreciated. Wolverine intends to submit these letters to Judge Josehpson. They can be sent via S.I.S.I.S.


Sample letters, addresses and links to politicians emails are available at http://kafka.uvic.ca/~vipirg/SISIS/gustlake/letter.html

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