OTTAWA (CP) - The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear the appeal of three people sentenced to jail terms following the armed standoff between natives and police at Gustafsen Lake. The high court handed down its decision Wednesday in the case of Jones William Ignace, Shelagh Anne Franklin and James Pitawanakwat.
The three were among 13 people convicted earlier this year, almost two years after the standoff ended. Sentences ranged from 4 1/2 years in prison to one year in jail.
Franklin was sentenced to one year in jail after being convicted of mischief. Ignace, leader of the standoff, got a 4 1/2 year sentence for mischief endangering life, and other offences. [S.I.S.I.S. note: Ignace was sentenced to 8 years, not 4 1/2.] Pitawanakwat was sentenced to three years for mischief and endangering life, and a two-year concurrent sentence for weapons possession.
The BC Supreme Court had rejected arguments from the three that the courts didn't have jurisdiction to proceed against native people in most of British Columbia and would not allow the defence of self-defence to be put before a jury. [S.I.S.I.S. note: nor the 'colour of right defence'.]
The incident erupted in the summer of 1995 when a group of aboriginals claimed a piece of private ranchland in British Columbia's rugged Chilcotin, near 100 Mile House.