Trial, Week 10: Summary - September 25


WEEK 10: SEPTEMBER 23 - 27, 1996

   * Day 44: Monday, September 23            * Day 47: Thursday, September 26
   * Day 45: Tuesday, September 24           * Day 48: Friday, September 27
   * Day 46: Wednesday, September 25


Edited by Roz Royce and Trond Halle, from notes by Trond Halle (Defendant)

Posted by FreeMedia


Abbreviations used in notes:

DC = Don Campbell (Defense)
SF = Shelagh Franklin (Defense)
GW = George Wool (Defense)
ST = Sheldon Tate (Defense)
MA = Manuel Azevedo (Defense)
HR = Harry Rankin (Defense)

LB = Lance Bernard (Crown)
JF = Jennifer Fawcus (Crown)

J = Judge

Warrant Officer Steven Bidwell (SB) back on witness stand.

HR - HR pulls out some references to the Bison and reads out its characteristics. The length is 6.5 metres, width 2.6 metres, height, 2.9 metres, and it weighs 14 tons full. HR files this as Ex. 208. SB agrees with these figures. HR says that a 14 ton vehicle going 60 mph would be quite a thing. SB says it would be if the Bison was going this fast. Estimates that maybe they were going 20 mph.

HR pulls out the "Rules of Engagement for Operation Wallaby". SB signed this and figures that it would be filed somewhere, but he doesn't know where. Paragraph 14 deals with the use of non-deadly force. Following that is conditions to use deadly force, which include protecting self or others when other methods have been exhausted. HR wonders what the threat to SB's life was when he had Bison chasing person he identified as Wolverine. SB starts with when Bison was at water. He says that the threat was greater then because he was exposed. HR asks what the threat was when he saw people floundering in the water. SB: "None." HR asks at what point between then and having the vehicle incapacitated was there a threat to his life. SB: "None." SB agrees that driver wasn't threatened either. SB claims that information came from Chilliwack ERT members in rear. He didn't hear any shots himself. He can't speak for the Chilliwack members.

HR suggests that the army didn't want to get involved. SB doesn't know. Agrees that object of exercise was to transport RCMP officers from point A to point B. HR suggests that anytime they go beyond that, then he was no longer obeying the rules. SB can't answer. HR thinks these rules are for the birds in that it's impossible for the army not to be involved when it's driving police officers around. SB thinks the rules are pretty clear and easy to follow.

HR wonders about using the Bison to ram pickup truck. SB says that he was obeying the rules of engagement, but HR says that the army mandate was not to get involved with RCMP operations. This mandate came from an army commander - General A.J.G.D. de Chastelain - Chief of Defence Staff. HR says these are his orders. SB agrees these are his orders. SB agrees that the document says that there was to be no intention for the armed forces to be engaged in police operations. HR wonders what ramming the truck means. SB says that the RCMP were the commanding agency here and that this was their plan. SB claims that if ordered to fire his weapon at the truck, he would follow the rules of engagement and only fire if in danger. SB doesn't think he disobeyed the rules of engagement. These rules filed as Ex. 209. SB doesn't look comfortable having his papers filed.

SB says that he saw a picture of Wolverine at Kamloops before he was deployed to 100 Mile House. Agrees that he watched the news prior to deployment, but doesn't remember anyone from the camp. Says Warrant Officer Trelnuk gave him the picture - another crew commander. Picture was a black and white photocopy. SB says the "correct" name on the picture was Ignace. He was shown half a dozen photos. These were of possible people in the camp. SB can't remember the names. HR asks if SB can identify anyone in the courtroom. SB says he can identify "Mr. Percy". He was given pictures and he looked at them for about fifteen minutes. SB was shown these at the armouries in Kamloops. The armed forces members were there, as was Kamloops ERT. HR shows him some photos, but SB says they're not the ones he was shown. HR says 15 minutes was a long time to look at photos and SB agrees.

He was interviewed Sept. 12 by Cpl. Kiloh. His statement of that day is looked at by HR. On page 7, SB says that person he saw looked very familiar from intelligence files as one of the main players. He says that person is Wolverine. HR asks if this was the total of his identification. SB says yes. SB says that he had looked at photographs a week earlier.

SB says that when he saw man in woods, he was down, although his hatch was open. The periscope he looked at had a vision from 10 to 2 o'clock positions. Says that sometimes the man stopped and would change directions. Man would stop, turn, fire and run some more. SB says that he doesn't think Chilliwack team was firing because their hatches were down. SB can't estimate how far they chased man. Maybe a couple of hundred yards. Can't even guess how many trees they were knocking down. SB had guessed that man was six feet tall. HR has Wolverine stand. SB guesses that Wolverine is 5'10". HR has GW stand, who says he is six feet. GW: "And not in the tongue either." GW stands next to Wolverine and HR says there's quite a difference. SB says that these were the observations he made.

SB says that he can't recall ever making a mistake before regarding a person's identity. SB recalls that man was middle aged, between 40 and 50. HR asks if he would be surprised to learn that Wolverine is 65-years-old. SB: "If that's his age, then that's his age." HR pulls out a photo and shows it to SB. It appears to be a photo of HR gardening. HR asks SB if this photo is of HR. SB shrugs his shoulders and asks HR if the photo is of him. HR: "You see, I ask the questions here. That's not fair, but then, either are the rules of engagement." SB agrees that this is a picture of HR.

HR finally gets to point. He says that this photo was just sent to him with a letter. HR reads letter from Doug Note who says that he's often been mistaken for Harry Rankin. There are a few smiles in the jury. He wants to show it to jury and puts it into LB's face. HR: "See, that's a picture of me gardening." LB objects that this isn't proper and doesn't see the value or relevance of showing it to the jury. J agrees that he too wonders about this, but will allow it to be shown. HR says that he wants to make a point that identification of people is a very delicate matter and many people have come to grief from misidentification. He just wants the jury to be aware of this. SB admits that it was stressful in the carrier and that looking through a periscope isn't like looking normally.

When SB was questioned by Kiloh, he told him in his statement that the red truck had been blown up. Then he says that he hit the truck head on with the Bison. SB: "We wanted to make sure it was disabled." SB agrees that they knew people would get hurt when they hit it. Says original plan was to hit it head on, but they then decided that by hitting it on the side, people might be less hurt. When data sheet didn't knock vehicle on an angle, they decided to go back to original plan to hit it head on. SB admits that they didn't have time to discuss it and it was SB's decision to hit it head on.

MB/ Without jury.

ST - Is supporting idea of taking a break on Oct. 15th.

Other Defense lawyers are in favour of that week off. SF disagrees because Wolverine and JoJo are still here.

Wolverine - would like to have the law addressed as it should be. He believes that if excessive force is brought forward by Defense, then the law will not be addressed. "You know, I wouldn't be here if the rule of law was followed."

For 137 years, we've had a chance to make treaties. Now modern day treaties are being brought forward to take away our rights. Says he won't support excessive force argument because then he won't be able to bring in Bruce Clark. Clark has been criminalized by the courts. We were here in the '90s, but the courts wouldn't address the laws. Because of greed. "And I'm stuck here with hardly any evidence against me - and I'm stuck here. We took it to the U.N. Maybe that was a mistake. The man there tried to run me down. And I had to act in self-defense. This is my country. You can leave and go back to your country. I can't because this is my country."

Says Dosanjh, Montague and others slammed the Defenders for being squatters in their own homeland. In the 1850s, this land was set aside for the Indian people. Only a court like Queen Anne's courts can deal with this. The politicians don't have a right to give all the resources over to the multi-national corporations. We tried to get this out and this is what almost got us killed. A boy almost got killed going for water. They blew up a truck. It's the RCMP that should be charged. Canada is known as a great human rights advocate. This court is also on charges here and the world is watching. Maybe one day you will be sitting here in front of us one day. For five months, I've heard nothing with my name in it until yesterday. And identification is a very difficult thing. And my happy friend (LB) is happy to keep me in here. That's all I have to say.

J - will accede to Defense request for break in October.

Jury in.

HR cont'd with Bidwell - HR asks SB if Sean Maloney told driver of Red Bison to eliminate the shooter, who SB identified as Wolverine. SB doesn't remember this. He denies that he was trying to kill the man. HR: "And if the man tripped, then he would have been flattened." HR says Maloney's statement said Bison sometimes got within ten feet of "shooter". SB thinks it was 20-25 feet. He thinks that at 20 mph, had the person tripped, the driver could have stopped in time. In statement, there is also reference by SB that man was hitting low, at tires. SB says person was also shooting high. SB says that there were four engagements with 4-6 shots each. SB thinks there were a few shots fired near end at tires. Agrees that shots were semi-auto.

HR wonders about reference to shooter as one of the main players. SB agrees that he was filled in about people from different ERT commanders. There is reference to being vulnerable to rocket attacks. SB says that this is a reference to shoulder-mounted rocket launchers. There was no intelligence indicating that there were rocket launchers around. He mentions rocket launchers twice in statement. Reference to FN is to an old semi-auto military weapon.

HR mentions that during yesterday's break when SB spoke to LB, HR wonders if identification was discussed. SB says that he was asked if he could identify the shooter. LB wants the jury to leave. SB is also excused.

HR says to J that this discussion was yesterday during the afternoon break. HR says he just wants to know what was said. LB says that HR can't ask what was said between him and SB. HR says that the Will Say had no mention of identification. The statement had next to nothing in it about ID. Then yesterday, SB comes across like he knows a lot about it. HR expects that LB would have talked to him about ID the night before. What he doesn't understand is why it was brought up yesterday. It's almost like he was prepped. This can be brought up in a voirdire. J will rule on this on the lunch break and asks that HR continue with other questioning.

HR also wants the black and white photos that were shown to SB. LB suggests that the colour photos HR showed to SB were the same ones that were photocopied. J asks LB if original photocopies that SB was shown are available. LB will check.

Jury and Bidwell back.

HR finished cross-examination.

ST - SB agrees that he is referred to as Warrant Officer. SB says that the ultimate commander of the Bison is himself. SB agrees that he had ultimate power and if there was a question with RCMP orders, he would contact military commanders to check. When truck was blown up, the decision to hit the truck from the front was the original RCMP plan. Agrees that it would be difficult to contact senior military commanders unless they were at other end of radio or inside vehicle. SB doesn't recall Cpl. Preston ordering him to ram the red truck. Agrees that Preston had authority to give commands to him and driver. ST suggests that it wasn't SB that directed the driver, but Preston.

ST asks if there was a contingency plan to deal with people escaping from the truck and going into the bush. SB says there was none. Agrees that when Bison went into action following this, responsibility fell on his shoulders. Between explosion and contact with red truck, SB thinks it took about ten seconds. Says distance was 50 to 75 metres. ST suggests that distance was twice that. SB doesn't think so. SB doesn't recall backing up the vehicle and ramming it again. He only recalls that the vehicle was backed up to let ERT out of rear. He has no recollection of red truck being hit twice and it would be a surprise for him to learn this.

Cst. Maloney and Cpl. Preston did the walk-through in Chilliwack to learn about the Bison. Maloney and Preston were also the two RCMP in rear hatches of Bison. When truck was rammed, he doesn't recall whether the two were standing out in the back or not. SB says he was listening to internal communications between himself, driver and Preston. Preston and SB also had handheld radios to listen to RCMP communications. Says that the handheld Sabre was the general RCMP radio.

SB admits that he doesn't know if he could hear a round hit the side of his vehicle if he was in Bison by lakeside. Says that there were a couple of rounds fired into the water near swimmers. Following this, he got report from Maloney that they were taking rounds. He never heard any firing except for the RCMP firing into the lake. He recalls no fire coming from rear portion of the Red Bison after those warning shots.

L/ ST cont'd with Bidwell - From time of explosion to time Bison became incapacitated, SB guesses maybe 30 minutes elapsed. He was told by Preston to proceed north on Tiger following explosion. Preston also told him to go west on Lion, as well as to go to shore from Lion. Best estimate from explosion to the movement towards the blue vehicle is 10-15 minutes. ST wonders who directed driver to turn Bison from the lakeshore to where the fire was coming from in the treeline. SB can't remember if it was himself or Cpl. Preston. ST wonders why he told the jury that he had Bison turn around in a standard military manoeuver. SB didn't mean to imply that. SB does not recall Preston giving command to run down the "shooter". He says he didn't hear it. SB agrees that he has never in the past been told by a civilian to "take out" someone. Says he didn't do so at the lake either since he never heard the command.

In statement, he was asked if Bison was "combat buttoned" at time during chase. ST says that SB responded that they were. SB can't find it in the statement in front of him and ST comes to help him find it. He finds it. SB says "combat buttoned" means hatches are down and locked. SB now says that he locked down after the Bison was disabled.

SB says that time from seeing person in treeline to time of disablement is 5-10 minutes. Agrees that there were a lot of communications during this time period. SB says that one of the Chilliwack members saw what he saw. He doesn't remember anyone identifying person in treeline on the radio. He doesn't recall anyone firing from his APC indiscriminately into the treeline. A short distance into chase, he doesn't recall a communication from Zulu to get out of there. SB says that he was only listening to the internal communications. He wasn't listening to the RCMP walkie talkie during this time period. Doesn't know if other ERT got that communication. SB says he would only have heard an order to desist in the chase if the Chilliwack members had told him of order. He heard no such order.

GW - SB agrees that he testified earlier of another person wearing a blue toque. That's the best description he can give of person. SB says he didn't see him long. Confirms that person was to his right. On large aerial photo, SB says that second person would have been on east side of clearing in the treeline. SB says that ERT members were wearing blue uniforms "with some kind of hunting jackets that they picked up in town." Thinks police were wearing police insignia on the back of their flack jackets. Thinks that some of the ERT were wearing NATO helmets. Agrees that some of the ERT members were also wearing dark toques. SB says that some of them wore dark blue toques. SB agrees that second person in treeline he saw was wearing dark blue toque similar to ERT members. SB agrees that he doesn't know where all the ERT members were positioned that day. Agrees that there were many RCMP members on the 1000 Road. Agrees that he couldn't rule out the possibility that person in blue toque was RCMP. He never saw person with blue toque fire because he never saw person with a weapon.

SB says that when Bison was disabled in the clearing, it was pointed west. SB said earlier that he was taking shots from the north.

Video is played. Eye in the Sky video shows three APCs on ground in clearing. SB says that he didn't deploy smoke that day. He believes Green team put out smoke. GW has SB point out his carrier to the jury. GW asks which way carrier is pointed. SB still thinks he's pointed north. GW has the video reversed to find some reference point. GW: "You can follow this right?" SB: "In reverse, sir?" GW: "Yeah, you get the idea, don't you?" J: "The military always advances, never retreats." Chuckles in the courtroom. They find a reference point where the Bison is in relation to the lake. GW suggests that the Bison was in fact pointed south. GW asks if SB knew that the RCMP were firing from the other side of the lake in that area. He says he never went around and asked the RCMP if they were laying down friendly fire. When asked if he trains with friendly fire, SB says "no, we don't train to take friendly fire." Laughter.

SB says that he does know that there were RCMP at the Perch, but doesn't know who told him. Didn't know RCMP from across the lake were firing their M-16s in their general direction. SB still maintains that he was facing west, but admits that he could see portions of the lake. He says he could see the west end or middle of the lake. SB can't say whether or not it was possible that a person firing from the east side of the lake could hit his Bison. He doesn't recall any hits on the left side of the Bison or the front after it was disabled.

He knew that Green Bison had circled a number of times before pulling up. He also knew that members were firing out of the top of the Green Bison. Didn't know that members in Green Bison fired thousands of rounds. Knew that driver of Green APC was Dale Horton. Didn't know that driver for Green was filmed by RCMP film crew. When he was pulled by Green, he agrees that only some of his wheels were turning. He agrees that the unspinning tires could cause some damage to vehicle, but doesn't know what kind of damage. He was aware that the police hooking up the two APCs were inexperienced and that this would take some time to do. Thinks it took 10 or 15 minutes to hook up. GW wants to play a video which he wants SB to identify.

AB/ GW cont'd with Bidwell - LB wonders about relevance of video to be shown. GW says that he doesn't need to have the sound on for the interview that is on the tape.

Tape rolls. It is shot from the rear deck of the Green Bison. Red Bison is being pulled slowly along road. You can see a front wheel askew and not turning. SB sees a person coming out of a hatch. SB says this is the crew commander's hatch. Shot of a man. SB says this is Chilliwack ERT member named Neil. He wears ball cap. He speaks, but we don't hear what he says as the volume is turned down. SB says that Neil was in the Green Bison. SB doesn't recall Neil being filmed during this part. Next shot is of a person wearing facepaint and a toque. SB confirms this is the same type of toque worn by person he saw in woods. SB doesn't believe Chilliwack members in his Bison had facepaint on. He can't identify person with toque on in the video.

DC - SB confirms that he had said earlier that he knew that Elders were on their way down for a meeting. He was aware of them coming perhaps a day earlier. He and Chilliwack members were aware of them coming. He recalls that the Elders had priority in the mission. Says that the mission was to disable the red truck. DC says that yesterday, SB said that mission was to disable any vehicle trying to pass. SB says that if this is what he said, then that's what he said.

SB claims that he doesn't know of any conflict between the army and the RCMP. Orders to go from one area to another were passed through a Lieutenant. Agrees that minute to minute commands came from ERT members or crew commanders. Claims that he never had a conflict with any of the commands given by ERT. He had the option of changing ERT orders. When he rammed red truck, he couldn't see at time whether there was anyone inside. DC asks if he felt that this was an acceptable risk to take to ram the truck. SB: "I didn't feel there was any risk."

On small aerial photo, SB shows where Bison was when it first arrived at lake. Bison was pointed almost straight south. The warning shots he saw were fired in a south easterly direction towards a point on the eastern end of Gustafsen Lake. Doesn't know if bullets would skip along water if fired at an angle. Says that the military doesn't use hollow point bullets because it's against the Geneva convention.

SB agrees that he heard gunfire twice. Once when he was exposed outside of APC when police fired rounds into lake. The second time was when he was below the hatch and they were chasing the shooter. From down below, he could hear rounds striking APC, but couldn't tell origin of rounds - whether they were RCMP bullets or otherwise. Did not hear rounds that were reportedly shot at Bison while down at water.

MA - SB says that at Orders group, General Semianiev gave briefing in Calgary. Lasted 15 minutes. Crew commanders and drivers there.

Capt. MacDonald was liaison between LFWA (Land Forces Western Area) and Lt. Blanc, the on-site Lt. The RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major) had a few words to say, but General gave main briefing. General handed out nothing.

Hadn't heard of Burke, Walend, ? from the army. Had heard of Sgt. Schlueter who had his thumb and finger blown off. Major Ferguson was his Company Commander in Calgary. May have been involved on the ground as well. Cpl. Callum doesn't ring a bell, as does another army name. He was given a very vague briefing about where they were going and that if they went, it would be to assist RCMP. Was not given rules of engagement at time.

Was given rules of engagement in Chilliwack. They did army training with Bisons at time. They weren't working with Chilliwack ERT at that time. On Sept. 12, MA says Olfert put in request for five additional APCs. SB confirms that they were brought in and four of them had drivers and crew commanders. Fifth Bison was a replacement because Bidwell needed a new one. SB believes that four additional vehicles were Bisons as well and were not armed with 50 calibre machine guns.

He had signed the rules of engagement, but handed that paper in following the operation. He turned them in to Major Ferguson at 100 Mile House. Ferguson was there for the duration. SB thinks Ferguson may have come out with SB from Calgary, but isn't sure. He says the Bisons came from Alberta.

On the rules of engagement, there is a reference to LFWA. This stands for Land Forces Western Area. MA notes that on last page, there is modification to the rules that are signed by C.J. Addy. SB thinks the modifications were to make the rules of engagement easier to follow, but doesn't know what was changed. SB can't be sure that the rules of engagement he's looking at are the same ones he was given in Chilliwack. Can't say if he was given the one page document on levels of force in Chilliwack either. Ferguson, Lt. Blanc, involved in briefing. This took place second day in Chilliwack. Says there was only army personnel there. Can only guarantee that there were eight people there, plus Major Ferguson. He can't remember how many people were at meeting. He can't remember if there was anyone there he didn't recognize. He doesn't suffer from memory problems.

He says he didn't bring any notes here. He agrees that he took notes at Gustafsen Lake. His field message pad is in Alberta. He says that he met with Crown earlier in year, but they never asked for field message pad. He claims that he threw away the notes after the operation, but after further questioning, SB admits that he may have given some of the notes he made to Lt. Blanc.

Says that when Bisons were transported to Gustafsen Lake on flatbeds, they were covered with tarps.

When Bison pulled up to water, MA suggests that ERT fired first and then told swimmers to get out of water. SB can't remember. An ERT member then reported taking fire. SB can't remember who gave the order to turn around and chase the shooter - it could have been him or Cpl. Preston.

In rules of engagement, #1 says to support RCMP. MA says that this means that you were providing glorified taxis. #2 says that the army was not to become involved in police procedures. MA asks why he didn't just leave. He didn't have to go chase the shooter. SB pauses and thinks. "It wasn't a matter of command, it was to do with the situation at hand."

Agrees that Bison scared the blue car away, but doesn't say that was the mission. Agrees that he never saw anyone in the car with a weapon. Says that Cpl. Preston told him that the blue car was coming his way.

Jury and Bidwell excused for the day.

LB - Is wondering about status with JoJo.

J has found no precedents regarding HR's request. HR had raised concern about LB speaking to witness about identification. J doesn't believe that lawyer/client privacy exists here, but says that on practical level, it could delay matters in the administration of justice because Crown might end up declining to interview witnesses prior to testifying, possibly delaying cases with redundant questions on the stand. J hopes that there will be disclosure of what was said during this interview so Defense can consider its options.

DC - says that he can't provide blanket acceptance of time off in October. His clients don't feel it's right when JoJo and Wolverine are still in jail. He might consider a change if Wolverine's bail is reconsidered.

LB - Says that the photos Bidwell was shown today aren't even the same images that he was originally shown, so LB will try to find the original photos.

GW - says that OJ has Hepatitis B so it's not the contagious type. GW: "So now no one has to be shot." Wolverine laughs and GW corrects himself to mean that no one needs to be inoculated.

   * Day 44: Monday, September 23            * Day 47: Thursday, September 26
   * Day 45: Tuesday, September 24           * Day 48: Friday, September 27
   * Day 46: Wednesday, September 25