May 12/97: Jurisdiction argument absent


Judge Josephsen Continues To Stonewall The Jurisdiction Question

174-1472 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, Salish Territory, V5L 3X9
Phone: (604) 322-7934, Fax: (604) 323-0224

Press Release
May 12, 1997

VANCOUVER, Salish Territory -- Most of British Columbia and a great deal of Canada has never been treatied or sold by Indigenous people to the newcomers of North America. As such, Native people retain sovereignty and importantly, jurisdiction over their own territories.

If Jurisdiction Wasn't The Issue, Why The Excessive Force

Fourteen Natives and four non-Natives withstood an RCMP initiated siege in the summer of 1995 that nearly resulted in the murder of all of them. They risked their lives so that the important question of who has jurisdiction in this province would be addressed by the courts. Throughout the siege, the defenders insisted that the question of jurisdiction could only be properly addressed by an independent, third party court. It appears they were right.

In his summary to the jury of both the crown and the defence's case, Judge Josephsen insures that the question of jurisdiction is absent. What is left is little more than a litany of RCMP abuse of power. The real criminals in this case have not yet been charged.

Dr. Bruce Clark: 14 Days Testimony
Jury Has The Option To Refer The Case To An Independent, Third Party Court

For fourteen days, Dr. Clark outlined the ironclad case of Native jurisdiction and the compelling case of the ongoing genocide directed against Native people in this province and elsewhere. Dr. Clark told the jury they had the legal option and importantly, the moral obligation to refer this case to an independent, third party tribunal.

Josephsen, in his summation completely ignored the testimony of Dr. Clark and excluded the position of both Jones Ignace and Shelagh Franklin who had based their defence solely on the important question of jurisdiction.

Josephsen continues to stonewall the jurisdiction argument and by this action and others, continues the process of wilful, state-sanctioned genocide against Indigenous peoples.

Jones William Ignace Is A Political Prisoner

In the past 10 months of the trial, no evidence has been presented by the Crown to support the attempted murder charge against Mr. Ignace or his son Jo-Jo.

Testimony Ignored By The Judge In His Summation

Olfert Misleads the Press; 50 calibre machine guns authorized and used at Gustafsen; Government must grant immunity should anyone be killed

Dept. Comm Farrell, from his notebook: Sept. 13/95: "A full brigade - 4,000 plus would be needed to deal with the group i.e. 100 to 1 for neutralizing travellers and perimeter security".

Sept. 12/95: "Any overt attempt must be accompanied by authorization by government, accompanied by immunity should anyone be killed".

Cst. Brian Flemming told Lyle James to clearcut the crime scene one week after the RCMP initiated siege ended. (from his testimony, July 17, 1996)

Cst. Shinkaruk testified that on Sept. 11, 1995 he heard a 50 calibre Browning, belt fed machine gun, capable of firing five rounds (of 5 inch bullets) per second. This date was well before the RCMP had official authorization to use this deadly weapon. (from his testimony, Sept. 16, 1996)

Sgt. A. Armstrong: In a statement given the day after the RCMP attempt to murder the camp members, the same day that a red truck was blown up, and it's occupants nearly killed, Armstrong stated that: "EDU had presumed the detonation would flatten all the tires and disable the vehicle and we expected the occupants might not be able to leave on their own power". (Statement: Sept. 12, 1995) This type of explosive (land mine) was first used in the Gulf War.

Cpl. John Ward: In the RCMP Training Tapes (which the jury have not been allowed to view) Ward was heard to say: "In the past, we have shot at vests, not at people. We shot at vests. We could not get a volunteer from internal". (He was referring to the vests supposedly shot at during the Aug. 27, 1995 "ambush in a hail of bullets" incident)

Chief Superintendent (now Asst. Commissioner) Murray Johnston: Johnson is now second in command of RCMP B.C. Under cross examination, Johnston named Deputy Commissioner Farrell and Assistant Commissioner Brown as having given authorization for use of the Browning machine gun at Gustafsen Lake. He also stated that day that the RCMP have purchased two of these weapons.

Cpt. D. Blanc: In his testimony he talked at some length about the problem of RCMP confusion and absence of a functional chain of command at Gustafsen Lake. He stated he was forced to rely on the media for briefing at the suggestion of the RCMP. (testimony given Sept. 30, 1996) Cpl. Melvin Callander: In his testimony, he stated that Supt. Len Olfert had mislead the press during the August 19, 1995 press conference.

The Ts'peten Defenders call for a full and comprehensive public investigation into the RCMP, before they create the next opportunity to use weapons of war against Canada's Aboriginal peoples. Court testimony indicates that they most definitely created this one.

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For further information contact:

Ts'peten Defence Committee spokespersons:
Bill Lightbown, phone: (604) 251-4949
Splitting The Sky, phone/fax: (604) 543-9661

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