May 18, 1997
It has come to the attention of the Ts'peten Defence Committee (TDC) that after weeks and weeks of testimony on the gross misconduct of the RCMP (Canada's national police force) during the Gustafsen Lake siege of 1995 and of the gross mistreatment and genocide of native peoples and their nations by the government of Canada and its' provinces, Judge Bruce Josephson has effectively removed this testimony from consideration by the Jury in the Gustafsen Lake trial. In the last days of the trial Judge Josephson ordered that:
(1) The "colour of right" defence will not be allowed for any of the accused. In Canadian law, a person who truly believes that they are acting within the law normally has the right to use this as a defence. In this trial, the issues of original peoples versus Canada's jurisdiction in unceded areas, and the legal right in Canadian and international law to an independent third party court to decide such issues, were only permitted to be introduced as part of the "colour of right" defence.This means that after ten months of testimony, Judge Josephson, in a few quick and brief announcements, has retroactively deeded the land at Gustafsen Lake to Lyle James and has arranged that the only defences available to all of the accused are (1) reasonable doubt and (2) presumption of innocence -- the only two defences a Judge cannot take away under any circumstances. The accused, other than Jones William Ignace and Joseph Ignace, have self defence available as a defence, however none of the others have been charged with attempted murder.
(2) "Self defence" will not be allowed for Jones William Ignace, known by his Shuswap name as the Wolverine, or his son Joseph Ignace, known as JoJo. Only Jones William Ignace and Joseph Ignace have been charged with attempted murder. The charges against Mr. Ignace arose when a driver of an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) was ordered to run over Mr. Ignace in a lightly wooded area. In order to avoid being killed, Mr. Ignace allegedly attempted to shoot out the tires of the APC. The APC became disabled when it hit a tree that was too big to run over and the driver later testified that Mr. Ignace was clearly shooting at the tires of the APC. The charge against Joseph Ignace, who suffers from foetal alcohol syndrome, arises from a confession forcibly obtained from him during a brutal interrogation by RCMP at which time he was denied presence of a lawyer.
(3) For the purposes of this trial, the Sundance grounds at Gustafsen Lake are to be considered Lyle James' private property. Lyle James was the land owner who attempted to evict the Sundancers and claimed that Gustafsen Lake was in lot #114, which he said he owned. However, lot #114 had not been surveyed since 1887 and the original pre-emption map dated 1887 (an unbelievably scant hand sketch), which locates lot #114 on a lake, could not be on Gustafsen Lake because it did not exist until 1930. Gustafsen Lake was created by Shuswap people and other historical research proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Lot #114 was originally located elsewhere.
(4) Most importantly, all jurisdictional arguments have been disallowed. The issue of jurisdiction was and is the main issue at Gustafsen Lake, and it is well documented that Canada's authority over unceded aboriginal land would fail if all of Canada's constitutional law was applied -- or -- if the issue was dealt with in the international realm by an independent third party court, where there's a precedent which goes in the favour of the aboriginal nation (Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut). The establishment, when faced with a legitimate challenge to Canada's jurisdiction, simply strives, by any way they can to avoid having Canada's constitutional law, which includes the Royal Proclamation of 1763 in all its' force, from being considered.
In his address to the jury, which the Judge has directed the jury to ignore, Dr. Bruce Clark, Canada's expert on aboriginal constitutional law, stated that the genocide of the original peoples here in Canada is achieved through (a) the illegal and premature usurpation of jurisdiction by the Canadian state and then (b) the criminalization of those natives who dare to stand up for their nation and rights. Here we have a clear example of this very process in action.
The defence lawyers did not inform their clients on the significance of the Judge's announcements. It was also not made clear by the Judge to the accused who were defending themselves without counsel (Jones William Ignace, Shelagh Franklin, and James Pitawanakwat). Further, Judge Josephson would not and has not disclosed any reasons for those judgments.
"The defence of self defence is available to everyone who is charged with possession of weapons which are dangerous to the public. How can the Judge arbitrarily take it away from two people?" said Bill Lightbown, Ts'peten Defence Committee spokesperson, "and how can the Judge take away the color or right argument when he as late as March 6 told the jury it was alive."
For instance, the July 11, 1996, testimony of Constable Brian Flemming. He told the court that he told Lyle James, who the Judge has decreed owns the Sundance grounds, to "clearcut the crime scene". This is completely absent from the Judge's summations. The trees were riddled with 77,000 rounds of bullet holes from 3 inches above the ground to 50 feet in the air which all show a direction of fire toward the camp. The Ts'peten Defence Committee intends to release and expose the entire list of testimony excluded by Judge Josephson in his summations to the Jury.
"A Judge's summation is not supposed to be a white-wash or a biased clean-up of the testimony, it is supposed to be a fair and balanced summary for the Jurors to use as a guide. How can the media stand by and allow this to happen unreported? What can be said of a legal system that allows this to happen?" said Lightbown.
Judge Josephson's summations of testimony and instructions to the Jury, together with his brief rulings in the final days, effectively bars the Jury from considering this and almost all other important and obviously relevant testimony and evidence.
The British Columbia judiciary is breaking the rules to put innocent people in jail and bury the jurisdictional issue. The media is not covering this -- the public doesn't know it's happening.
Call For A Full Public Inquiry!
Pray That The Jury Does The Right Thing!
Please Help Us Put Pressure On The British Columbia Judiciary!
Please Help Us Get This Information Out To Others!
We need people both inside and outside Canada to raise a ruckus!
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