Jun 14/96: Gustafsen Lake-Defender demands retraction


Lawyer Wants Answers About the Use of the Military

June 14, 1996

The press ban has been lifted!

SURREY, B.C. - Ts'peten Defender Glen Deneault has asked the RCMP to issue retractions of erroneous press releases issued during the Gustafsen Lake Standoff. The RCMP's own disclosures to the court contradict information previously released at press conferences and in news releases. One of the most glaring discrepancies concerns an incident on September 4, 1995 when the RCMP claimed that members of the camp had fired on a RCMP vehicle and continued firing as they pursued the officers who fled on foot. The RCMP's own disclosures now state that there was no attack at all and the vehicle simply hit a tree branch. The officers panicked and fired wildly while fleeing. This alleged incident was used to justify the bringing in of the military. Since the RCMP press releases at the time of the 'standoff' got a lot of media play, Glen wants the retractions made public too. "They used the press to demonize us, we need to educate the people about what really happened." says Glen.

Since the incident that was used to justify the use of the military never happened, Defense lawyer Manuel A. Azevedo will be asking for information concerning how the army became involved. He has asked the Crown to answer several questions:

    1. On whose behest the army became involved.
    2. To what extent the army was involved.
    3. The equipment involved.
    4. The duration the army was present.
    5. The cost of the operation and who was paying for it.
    6. Whether the Attorney General invoked s. 277 of the National
       Defense Act.
Mr. Azevedo has made it clear that he intends to subpoena the Attorney General as a witness. The Defenders continue to request that William Jones Ignace be released on bail. He like the other Defenders was criminalized in the RCMP releases and his lawyer, Harry Rankin, Q.C. points out that his client has been incarcerated for almost a year without a trial. This misuse of the media by the RCMP who have not issued retractions when they found out they were in error has led to jail time for William Ignace. Sgt. Peter Montague, spokesperson during the 'standoff' during his pre-trial testimony said the RCMP use the press to sell their product. Considering Mr. Ignace's lengthy incarceration, it is hard to see the RCMP's product as having much to do with justice.

Back to SIS