* 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
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
LB - Has to make a submission regarding Bidwell's testimony. Says J's ruling won't only affect this case, but also other cases in the future. He doesn't think it's proper to ask a witness what he was asked from the Crown. Blah, blah, blah. If this is to be explored, it shouldn't be done in front of the jury. LB says that he had put a series of questions to the witness regarding the time period in question. He says that the impression has been left that the Crown has done something wrong by speaking to the witness. He wants this to be made clear to the jury.
HR - Says that he has put this type of question to the Crown many times before in many trials and has never left that impression before as he hasn't now. The practical side of it is that the police are Crown men. They belong to the Crown. HR makes it clear that he is going no further than this with the witness. He reminds J that there was no preliminary trial, so this trial will go on for a long time. Says there is no purism to the trial. Some may say that putting a photograph to the witness was not cricket. "Well I'm not playing cricket." Says he is an advocate and will use whatever is practical to make a point. HR says that this is only a minor difficulty in a trial that will be full of many difficulties.
J says he will tell the jury that there was nothing improper about the Crown speaking to the witness.
J tells jury that Crown speaking to witness is okay. Also tells them that week of Oct. 14th will be a break from the trial. He'll speak more of scheduling later.
Steven Bidwell (SB) back on witness stand. He's wearing a dark suit with a black shirt. He looks like a hitman.
MA - SB says that other than periscopes for driver and crew commander, there are two small windows in back doors. MA shows SB a copy of the operational plan. SB confirms that this was the actual plan that he was given. He can't recall who gave him the plan, but says it was the same RCMP officer that gave him the briefing.
SB confirms that the plan was to use the APC to disable the red truck by striking it. Agrees that he struck truck with APC which created damage. MA looks at "Rules of Engagement" and asks about paragraph which states that army will not become involved in RCMP operation. MA suggests that ramming the truck breaches the rules of engagement. SB doesn't know if this is in breach, but agrees that hitting the truck was part of the RCMP plan. SB says that he was asked if he had any problems carrying out the plan. He doesn't remember if anyone asked him for advice on whether the plan was good or not. Says that Lt. Blanc approved the operational plan that SB was part of. Blanc asked SB prior to the operation whether he had any questions pertaining to the plan. SB was satisfied that he had the authority to what he did. Says that he and Blanc never discussed the rules of engagement, but SB was satisfied that they were operating within the rules.
MA asks if SB was directed to catch the two people from the truck. SB says that Cpl. Preston told him to proceed north up 1000 Road to the junction of lakeshore. They were at intersection for a few minutes. Vehicle was pointed towards Zulu, but SB says he wasn't given the order to return to Zulu.
SB says that he was told of blue car approaching. He doesn't know for sure if he told driver to now go westbound on lakeshore, but agrees he could have. Says that hatches at rear were open. He, Preston and Maloney were exposed at this time. He's not certain if he told driver to ensure blue car didn't go any further. Agrees that blue car turned around and left area.
He was then told to head to lake edge in order to intercept the swimmers. After bullets were fired into lake, SB agrees that he told driver to "go after shooter and get up close." SB agrees that he said on intercom that it was Wolverine. Says he was the first to say it was Wolverine - no other person said it before him. Agrees that he was shown black and white pictures before of people that included their criminal records. WO (Warrant Officer) Trelnuk showed him these photos. Says that his hatch was open during pursuit, but isn't sure about rear hatches. MA suggests that Bison got within four feet of shooter, but SB doesn't think he got this close. Admits that he lost sight of person a few times.
After Bison hit tree and was disabled, there was a period of no gunfire. Then a lot of fire began. He only heard shots on right side of Bison. Agrees he saw hits on outside of APC later.
SF - SB agrees that the army doesn't allow hollow point bullets because of the Geneva Convention. SF suggests this is because hollow points are regarded as cruel. He can't comment on why they're not allowed. SB agrees that he was in Croatia for peacekeeping duties. SF asks if he was involved in blowing up any trucks there. He doesn't know if he can answer that and J rules that this isn't relevant. SF asks if the Geneva Convention states that it is inhuman to deny people water, food or medical supplies. SB agrees that as a peacekeeper, he can be ordered to bring in food, water and medical supplies.
SB says that he wasn't aware that red truck was on its way to get water. He was only made aware of the movement of the red truck. He wasn't aware that the red truck was going to pick up Elders sent in by the RCMP. SF finds this hard to believe. She asks if he felt that the lack of communications endangered people's lives. He says that he isn't privy to all levels of communications. SF expects that he should know about information that the truck was getting water and Elders. J says it isn't proper for witness to give an opinion and that this is a submission for the jury.
SF asks if he is aware of Geneva Conventions regarding genocide. He agrees that he isn't aware of many of the conventions.
SB agrees that he heard the term "No-Go Zone" in the operational plan. Says he read this on the 10th of September. SF says this is the day before he violated the zone. SF looks at the plan and sees there is no map. SB says that he wasn't shown a map of the no-go zone and he didn't ask what the boundaries were. SB says that he felt the zone only applied to the natives of the camp, but didn't have to apply to him. He was not aware of any area that he was restricted from going into. SB says he is only aware of the no-go zone, but not of its boundaries. SB says that if the red truck was to go beyond the data sheet, then it would definitely be beyond the no-go zone. Doesn't remember which RCMP officer told him this, except that it was someone in his APC.
SB was aware of some of the spiritual activities at the camp from the newspapers. Agrees that he heard the term "Shuswap Sundancers." Doesn't know if this means they are an ethnic, religious group. J won't let her ask question about the law and genocide regarding the Sundancers. SF says that SB's job is to enforce international law or to be a peacekeeper and she wonders how he could do his job if he isn't aware of international law.
Both he and the driver had about 100 rounds each for their C-7 (army M-16s). He carried 30 rounds for his pistol. He doesn't know how many rounds the RCMP carried. He was wearing Canadian army clothing.
His direction was that once the data sheet went off, he was to follow the operational plan.
MB/ Without jury.
Wolverine is dressed in his cowboy duds now. HR asks that Wolverine be seated within the general body of the accused. J says fine.
JF - Next witness (#43): Private Michael Connors (MC) - MC a Private, at Calgary since 1994. Previously in Newfoundland Regiment. Became involved at Gustafsen Lake as a Bison driver. He was told that Bison would be used as a taxi for the RCMP. He had experience driving a Grizzly and a Bison. Says Grizzly is six-wheeled with a turret and heavier armour. Bison is eight-wheeled and is mainly a troop carrier.
Went to Chilliwack from Calgary with himself, Warrant Officers, other drivers and commanders, two mechanics and a medic. He understood that four Bisons would be used. Was assigned to Red Bison. In Chilliwack, he made sure vehicle was up to standard and ready. Explains that crew commander tells him where to go. "If he tells me to go right, I go right. If he tells me to go left, I go left."
In Kamloops, they waited for orders. Once they got orders, they packed gear and went to staging area at 100 Mile House. Understood task was to get police that were pinned down and to bring them back to Zulu. Only knows that the area he was to get the pinned down police was north of Gustafsen Lake. He only drove. Three Bisons moved in to location. He was last vehicle of three. Confirms that RCMP members were also in Bisons during this task.
Prior to Sept. 11, he was keeping Bison maintained and transported RCMP to observation points and then brought them back to Zulu. As driver, he wore crew helmet. Crew commander could talk to him through this helmet. He could also hear RCMP communications too. He had radio communications with the other APCs. He couldn't communicate with ERT members.
On small aerial photo, he shows where Bison was on Sept. 11, in driveway to Percy's lease. He got to location by circling to west, and south of Gustafsen Lake. On way, they came across a roadblock where a tree had been felled across the 1000 Road. Bidwell told him to clear it with the Bison so he put it in a low gear and crept on tree. Tree broke and he was able to push tree to side making road passable. Then they proceeded north and got to driveway of Percy's lease.
He says that RCMP rotated through observation points, but he only heard this on radio. He then heard from Eye in the Sky that red truck was on the road. Says that two RCMP were permanently assigned to Bison. One was Sean (Maloney). Doesn't remember other because he was yanked out of there and replaced.
Was told that once truck was blown, he was instructed to push it off the road so that it couldn't get away, and then the RCMP "could arrest the people, I guess." He was shown where data sheet was so he wouldn't go over it. Data sheet was 100-150 metres north of his position. He was given instructions by his Warrant Officer.
He heard a large explosion. This was his cue to start vehicle and raise the rear ramp. He proceeded forward. At first he couldn't see the red truck in the dust. Then he saw it, he hit it and pushed it 10-15 feet back. Bison climbed up on the truck, but that wasn't the intention. He was told to back off the truck and then dropped the ramp.
First time he saw the red truck was when he was about 10 feet away. He had to veer hard left to hit the truck "hit'on". Court reporter doesn't understand what he said. J says this is Newfoundland for "head on". Chuckles. MC says that his vision was quite limited because of the dust. Plus he has only three periscopes to see with, which aren't very big. Says he has about a 10 to 2 o'clock view ahead.
When he drove, his hatch was closed and combat locked. Crew commander was behind him, but he couldn't tell if his hatch was open or closed. Couldn't tell what was happening at the rear of the Bison.
Once he backed off the truck, the ramp was opened and he presumes that the RCMP got out. He only saw one person ahead that got on one knee and fired a couple of rounds east into the woods. He didn't see who that person was. He heard the rounds shot off. He could see a dog that was going north on road. "It started to stagger and then it fell." Says dog was white and behind the red truck. Doesn't know how long they were there. After RCMP got back in vehicle, he was told to close the ramp and then to slowly move north so RCMP could observe the treeline. Bidwell gave him these instructions. He stopped at the intersection of 1000 Road and Lakeshore Road. Doesn't know how long he waited there. He was told first to stop and wait. Then given orders to proceed back to point where they started that day. As he began to back up, he was told to go back to intersection.
Then MC was told to move along road towards camp. He was told to slow down because he was moving too fast. He saw a blue car coming his way, but then it turned around and went the other way. He can't say how far the car was when he saw it. He lost sight of the car. He kept moving up the road and was then told to move left to a knoll by the lake. He was told that there were two guys in the water. He could see the two guys. One only had his head exposed. The other was up to his chest. One was swimming, one was walking. Couldn't tell if they were male or female. When asked to describe the two people, MC says that the view out of the periscopes are very limited. Says Bison was at a 45 degree angle to the lake.
The RCMP guys were in the air sentry hatches (two rearmost hatches). He heard rounds fired. Heard RCMP go through arrest procedure and tell people to put their hands up. He can't tell for sure where these rounds came from, but thinks it was from the RCMP guys because it was pretty loud. He heard two rounds. RCMP said "Halt. Come in with your hands up," or something like that. He couldn't see the two people at this time.
Then rounds hit the right side of the Bison. The RCMP said that they were being hit. Knew it was the right side of the carrier because the left side was facing the water. He knew they were hits because they make a "pinging" sound. Says there was more than one round that hit. Says that because rounds were hitting the right side of the vehicle, he guesses the rounds were coming from the right.
He began turning the Bison to the right on his own initiative. At the same time, he got the order to do so. He turned because that's part of his training. The armour is sloped up front making it better protected.
Doesn't know what RCMP were doing. He stopped and waited for orders. Bidwell told him to move forward to treeline. He couldn't see anything at this point. Rounds were still hitting the Bison. Rounds hit front and right side of Bison. He crossed the road until they got close to treeline. "Warrant" (Bidwell) saw a person in the treeline first. Then MC saw person too after Warrant pointed person out. MC can't remember exactly what Bidwell said. He could see person standing behind tree. Person stood up and had an object in his hands which he raised to his shoulder. MC demonstrates how person held object. MC couldn't see what object was.
MC could see that person had camouflage fatigues on both top and bottom. He can't say how far person was because depth perception is difficult with periscopes. Warrant told MC to go to left of treeline. They stopped, but MC can't remember what happened then. Was then told to proceed up left side of treeline. He did this. For brief moments, he could see person. Then was told to turn right into trees and to chase person through the trees. He went forward into trees and "I guess I chased him. Then I guess I ran into something." Says the steering was broken. When he was chasing person, Warrant "sang out" and said "That's Wolverine."
MC identifies man as wearing bandanna, older man, wearing fatigues with braided hair. Grey tint to hair so guessed between 45-60 years old. Remembers stature as being heavy set. Saw him very briefly. Can't recall height. Can't recall racial origin because periscopes limit vision. Says that Bison was within four to seven feet of person. Can say that person was a male. Agrees that when Warrant said that it's Wolverine, he says he recognized him from photos shown by the RCMP. Says he was shown slides. Says he would recognize him again. MC looks around courtroom and can't recognize person. "It was a year ago, so I can't remember."
When he was chasing man, man was running. He could hear rounds hitting the front and right side of the carrier. Guesses the rounds were coming from the front. Man was four to seven feet in front of the Bison. MC says man was carrying an AK-47. Says man would turn and fire from the hip at the vehicle. MC could hear the hits to the front of the Bison. Says that this happened twice. On both occasions, rounds hit the Bison. At time, he doesn't know of any rounds being fired from Red Bison.
When vehicle was disabled, man turned around and opened up on the Bison. Doesn't know how many shots man fired. Says that the man fired two bursts of automatic fire. MC aware of rounds hitting the front of the Bison at this time. Prior to this, he didn't have any trouble manoeuvering through the trees.
After man fired two bursts, man turned and disappeared into woods. He never saw him again. Warrant then told him to put the Bison into the clearing. During this, he could hear rounds hitting the carrier. He moved carrier into clearing. MC shows a clearing above a triangle of roads on the small aerial photo. When he brought the Bison into clearing, the nose was facing west towards camp. He also shows where Bison first stopped at lake by swimmers. It's just slightly left of road triangle. He proceeded north to treeline at top of triangle. He can't recall direction he drove once in woods.
L/ JF cont'd with Michael Connors - MC recounts initial task of extracting RCMP members. Says this happened about a week before Sept. 11. He picked up these officers north of the camp.
When driving through the woods on Sept. 11, he hit a tree. When he backed off it, the tree fell. The man was right of the tree.
The tree landed near the man, but he says that there was no intention to knock the tree so close to the man. "I was just trying to clear a path for the vehicle." When Bison was disabled, he called on radio to say that they were stuck and in trouble.
Eventually the Green Bison arrived and a plan was made to back up Red Bison to Green and to drop the ramps. RCMP members were supposed to go from Red to Green. Says that he was told by RCMP to raise the ramps because they were taking fire. One man managed to make it to Green. He saw there were people moving to right of vehicle. People were exposed for about five seconds. He could see their silhouettes. They were running, but he couldn't see if they were carrying anything. Two people were running, one behind the other. He saw these two people before he drove out into clearing after hitting the tree.
MC figures rear ramp was down for 10-15 seconds. There was a call for more Bisons to support them. It took awhile for Bisons to arrive. The first arrived and circled around, clearing the area. Four Bisons were there in total. Two pulled up on each side of his Bison and Green backed up to his nose. He couldn't see the men hooking up his Bison. Green pulled Red out of there and they left by same way they came in. They stopped at a checkpoint short of Zulu and looked at it. He saw two flat tires, the steering was disabled, the front right shock had a hole in it. He didn't see any holes at that time. Later, he saw hole in rear where gas cans sit - there was a dent there. There was also a hole in the police sign. Saw this at Zulu. He never fired a weapon. Says he tore a muscle in his back when he hit the tree.
In yellow photo book, he identifies paint chips on Bison and dents near gas cans.
HR - MC says he was sent by Lt. Blanc. Sent from Calgary with a signaller (communications person), two mechanics, drivers and commanders, medic. Agrees that Bison was to be a taxi for the RCMP. He had driven a Bison in Wainwright (Alberta) for a month prior to Gustafsen Lake. Describes difference again between Bison and Grizzly. He subsequently took orders from Warrant Officer Bidwell. He understood rules of engagement to be that use of deadly force wasn't allowed unless he or crew were in danger. Basically, only for self-defense. He says he doesn't shoot to kill unless there is no other option. He agrees that there was never a reason to do this.
MC agrees that Sept. 11, he was to assist in disabling the red truck. He says that he was told the data sheet was an early warning device to alert him to the truck's presence. It was designed to disable the truck, not blow it up. Agrees that he hit truck slightly from the right dead on. HR: "Hitting a truck with a 14-ton vehicle is pretty much deadly force, isn't it?" MC: "I guess it is." Agrees that he was just following orders. Says he didn't see police shoot the dog, but did see it fall. HR: "But you knew the dog didn't go down because it was exhausted, you knew it had been shot." MC: "Yes."
MC reiterates that periscopes are three inches high and 5-10 inches wide. MC explains that what you see through the periscope is view from in front of hatch. Says depth perception is poor and agrees that he wouldn't know if person in front is five feet in front or ten feet. He relies on crew commander for instructions. MC could not hear the Wescam himself. He got messages passed down from RCMP to Warrant to him.
From statement, MC agrees that Warrant told him to "take the truck out." He didn't get this directly from RCMP, but indirectly through Bidwell.
At water's edge by two swimmers, he agrees that one was walking and one was swimming. He hears shots and sees shots hit water. MC says police gave warning to come in first before firing. HR recalls that he testified that he heard shots first and then the warning. MC can't recall what he said. HR wants it clarified. MC reads through his statement. MC says he can't remember specifically. Agrees that he last said that shots were fired after warning. Says shots were heard about 10-15 seconds after warning.
MC says he wasn't hunting down the man in the bush, he was just following him. Agrees he was chasing man because he was ordered by Warrant to do it. Agrees that Warrant was doing it because RCMP was telling him to do it. HR: "This isn't exactly being a taxi for the RCMP." MC: "I guess not." Agrees that he would have hit the man had he fallen. Says he would have tried to stop. MC says the man did pose a threat to him. HR: "If you would have just stayed taxiing, there would have been no problem." MC: "I guess." HR recounts an old saying that, "Young men throw stones at frogs in jest, but frogs die earnestly."
MC says he was just following orders. HR says he understands that because he was a Private once too - if you don't follow orders, you're going to get it. MC agrees that man posed no threat to him in any shape, way or form. Says that Bison is safe from small arms fire. When asked if he was confident he was safe, MC says that he had never tested the vehicle before like that. HR suggests that he was more confident of its ability to withstand small arms fire after that day than before. MC agrees.
MC hit tree and the APC stopped. He reversed and this is when tree fell. He then pulled forward to get into clearing. Is confident that it was the tree that knocked out the steering.
MC agrees that man could have felt that his life was in danger when he was being chased by Bison. HR: "And you'd do the same thing if you were in his position?" MC: "Yes." MC agrees that man was not trying to kill him, man was trying to disengage from Bison.
ST - MC never got a chance to look at tree he hit later. Doesn't remember the size. ST suggests that if you tried to wrap your arms around tree, you couldn't clasp your hands. MC doesn't know. MC agree that pointed end of Bison would cause damage to the tree. He wouldn't be surprised to learn that Bison almost cracked it in half, nor that the roots had come up when the tree fell and it was these roots that wrecked the steering. ST asks if he has ever cut down a tree that size before. MC: "No. They don't have very large trees in Newfoundland." Agrees he wouldn't want to be hit by a tree that size, but doesn't know if it would kill him.
ST suggests that Gustafsen Lake was the closest he came to a real military operation in his experience, but MC says he came close when he was in Croatia. Agrees in Croatia, he had rules to follow because he was in a peacekeeping role. Agrees that he had rules to follow at Gustafsen Lake. Remembers Warrant Officer Trelnuk, Sgt. Schlueter, Bidwell and Blanc were the Bison crew commanders.
MC says that they used first names during operation to make it easier to relate to police. Says that other RCMP officer in rear of APC was removed following Sept. 11. Doesn't know his name, but says that he was one of the two people standing in the rear hatches. ST suggests that man was pulled because he ordered Bison to chase man, but MC doesn't know why. Agrees that it was the RCMP that gave the orders there. Isn't aware of disgruntlement between military and police. Doesn't say it didn't exist, just didn't hear anything about it.
MC took training prior to going to Gustafsen Lake. Doesn't recall drills on how to deal with gunfire. He understood that he could do anything that conformed to General de Chastelain's orders. MC says that on Sept. 10, when he was told of plan to smash truck, he didn't question it because he's trained just to take orders.
MC says that 5.56mm bullet with tracer is bullet with phosphorous on the bottom. Says that they had 5.56mm ball and trace ammo in the Bison for their C-7s - the military version of the M-16. They also had paraflares and smoke canisters. He says that stun-grenades are not used by the military and knows nothing of Sgt. Schlueter blowing himself up with weapons he's not trained with.
MC says a Husky is a mechanic's vehicle. He never saw a Husky there.
At briefing, he was shown photos by RCMP in Kamloops. Doesn't recall who showed these photos. He says that it was put to him that there were native people in the camp who had arms. Not a lot of time was spent elaborating why the natives were there. Wasn't told how long they would be at Gustafsen Lake. Just figured he'd stay until he got orders to go somewhere else. The meeting he had was a Commanding Officer's meeting. He doesn't recall them saying that it was a touchy situation using the army. Does recall that the army would just provide transport. Recalls that the police said that if there were no Bisons, there would be no plan. Recalled that RCMP even suggested that they get their own Bisons. ST wonders if there was disgruntlement between military and police. J interrupts and wonders if this is relevant. ST says there will be witnesses coming who were at the meeting and the jury can get some background into the meeting. J allows the question to continue, but ST doesn't pursue it as MC had already made it clear that he didn't know if there was disgruntlement between military and police.
MC doesn't recall a discussion of the types of flak jackets to use. Says it wasn't unusual that they had to sign a document saying what the rules of engagement were.
MC says it takes three to five seconds for the ramps to raise. He says he started the engine first before raising the ramps. He agrees he did this as fast as he could when he heard the explosion. Says it would take less than a minute. Doesn't recall how fast he was driving when he left to get to the truck. Says it was pretty fast. He estimates he was doing 30-40 mph before he hit the truck. MC says that he wasn't told to hit the truck head on when he was in motion. He struck the vehicle and the Bison climbed up on the truck. He says that he may have been told to hit it again, but he doesn't remember.
At the shore with the swimmers, after he heard the "pinging" of rounds hitting the Bison, he doesn't recall hearing shots being fired from the RCMP at the rear of the Bison. MC maintains that he only heard pinging sounds because they would be louder than RCMP M-16s being fired ten feet away. Says that he was also wearing helmet and the engine was roaring next to him. Says that he doesn't consider what the people are doing behind him when he drives - he concentrates on the driving. He agrees that he wouldn't be able to tell where rounds are coming from.
Agrees that with the way the periscopes work, there was no danger to be shot in the eyes if shots were directed at vision port openings. Agrees there is a depth perception problem. Crew commander's scopes are higher than his and more in number. MC agrees that crew commander's optics also suffer from depth perception.
DC - MC confirms he took Grizzly course in Calgary. He took upgrade course for Bison in Wainwright, Alberta. Agrees that Grizzly has two co-axially mounted machine guns - one being 50 cal., the other being 7.62 general purpose machine gun (GPMG).
Agrees that Grizzly is more aggressive. DC: "But of course we've heard that the Bison can be aggressive too cracking trees in two and leaping trucks in a single bound." Agrees that if it was sitting here in front of the jury, it would be quite a formidable looking piece of machinery. MC says Bison can also be mounted with GPMG. Says he was told Bison was equipped with "run flat tires", but he learned later they weren't.
At time MC drove into clearing following hitting the tree, he didn't know if tires were flat. Agrees that shooting out the tires wouldn't cause any danger to people inside the vehicle.
In MC's statement, he says that he never saw the people in the water clearly, but was told by guys in back of carrier that they were native. Agrees that he used RCMP members' assistance in spotting and accepted this because they could see more out of the hatch than he could through his three periscopes.
In yellow photo book, photo 119 shows periscope mechanism. Agrees that depth perception has been sacrificed for the safety of the driver and the crew commander. In statement, he says that he saw that Bison was marked by strikes on all four sides.
Says that his commander was Bidwell. In statement, he says commander was the guy in the back, one of the members of the Chilliwack team. Clarifies that the commander of the Bison was the RCMP, but MC's commander was Bidwell. Says commands would come through the Warrant, but can't recall if sometimes, commands may have come directly from RCMP.
In his statement MC says that he didn't believe that the people were shooting to kill. MC agrees this is what he said.
MA - MC says that he wears a helmet to protect his head from bumps. There are earphones in the helmet. Says that he could speak to Bidwell on Sept. 11th. Doesn't remember being able to speak to ERT members, but says they could have yelled things to him. Doesn't remember Preston saying "eliminate the shooter." Says it is very noisy inside the Bison.
Says that he and other drivers all from PPCLI (Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry) regiment. He attended meeting in ?, but can't remember how many people were there. Says RCMP EOD (Explosives Ordnance Disposal - army term for EDU - Explosives Disposal Unit) rode in his vehicle. Didn't know army EOD team was there.
In Chilliwack, he was briefed by Lt. Blanc and Major Ferguson. He saw Ferguson every now and then in 100 Mile House.
As driver, he doesn't know when hatches are open or not. He says when he ended up in clearing, he could feel vibrations from rounds hitting from the front and the right.
LB - Next witness (#44): Warrant Officer Gordon Trelnuk (GT) (on crutches) - 14 years in army. Stationed at Calgary with Princes Patricia Light Infantry. Is coordinator of Battle School. In 1995 stationed with 1st Battalion PPCLI at CFB Calgary.
Was given a "probable task" on Aug. 24. GT was told that they might be given an order to provide taxi service to the RCMP. He received orders around Aug. 25. He was to be a crew commander for a Bison and second in command of army. First in command was Lt. Dan Blanc. Went to Chilliwack and sorted out vehicles. Checked equipment, did driver training and received first draft of rules of engagement.
Then went to Kamloops. APC followed on flatbeds. In Kamloops until Sept. 5.
GT explains term "probable task" being given because they hadn't yet received hard orders or a warning order. At this point, it was still a probable task.
On Sept. 5, they moved to Zulu outside of 100 Mile House. He was assigned to Green Bison as crew commander. Private Dale Horton was driver. At Zulu, they were given another warning order that they may have to conduct an extraction of ERT team. Later given orders. They then carried out extraction. This involved going into area near Gustafsen Lake in APCs and escorting ERT members in Suburbans out of area.
After this, they provided taxi service. They conducted familiarization training of Bisons with RCMP. They would drive RCMP down roads. Sometimes ERT would stay, sometimes they would come back with them.
Sept. 10, he was given orders to take ERT to various areas. Given other tasks. His was to move to location northeast of encampment and pull down a roadblock. He was assigned Prince George ERT members. Before going, they waited because there was still a negotiating team in camp. Because of sensitive nature of negotiations, they waited until negotiators had left area. Once they had left, they went north of roadblock and set up a small perimeter. There were 11 RCMP personnel with him, including Smyth from Chilliwack. Can't recall other names.
Whenever they had ERT on board, they took instructions from the team leader. Says the roadblock they were sent to clear included numerous rocks, 6-12" in diameter, that were on the road. 25-50 rocks scattered all over the surface. Trees were down on road just beyond scattered rocks.
* 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