Trial, Week 10: Summary - September 27


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 Gordon Trelnuk (GT) back on witness stand.

LB - On Sept. 11, Kamloops ERT relieved Prince George ERT early in the morning. In late morning, GT heard over radio that two people were checking out the roadblock. He was 400-500 metres north of 1000 Road and Lakeshore Road junction. One of the members stated that the red truck was on the move. Clarifies that some of the members were listening to the radio and if everyone didn't hear messages, these people would pass message on. His Green team was not initially going to be involved with blowing up the red truck.

He heard the explosion. RCMP continued monitoring radio. Team leader Ray Wilby told him and driver to prepare vehicle for movement should they be needed. He could hear small arms fire. Could hear it was different from RCMP weapons. Could hear RCMP weapons too. Can't recall in what order the different firing occurred. No idea what time firing occurred. GT was in hatch preparing to move.

He got instructions to move just shortly before radio message that Red Bison had been disabled. He was instructed to move to roadblock, and then to proceed to Red Bison. All but two Kamloops ERT got into Green Bison. Hatches were open in the rear. At roadblock, they used tow cables to pull large trees out of the way. They drove over rocks and small trees. They were driving so fast that they missed the junction. They went a couple of hundred metres past until they got to red truck. They backed up to Lakeshore junction and then proceeded west on Lakeshore Road. Commander from Red was telling him where Red Bison was. Once Red Bison commander spotted Green Bison, he told GT and GT had driver turn right to get to the disabled Bison.

On small aerial photo, GT shows where roadblock was. He points to where he received radio message from Bidwell to turn. He was on lakeshore halfway between two points of track triangle. Bidwell radioed GT and he turned north to Red Bison. Red Bison came into view almost immediately. Says trees were sort of sparse there so he could see through them and see the Bison. He had Green pull up next to Red and then told Red that they were there. There was no plan at that point what to do.

They got there and took some fire that he identified as not being RCMP fire. RCMP returned fire. When he received fire, he was south of Red. Says it wasn't RCMP fire because it was harsher - it had a louder report. Red Bison hatches were closed. Says none of the fire was coming from Red and it's impossible to fire from Bison with closed hatches. Says there was some fire earlier coming from Green, but later when he looked through Bison, he could hear fire while all the RCMP were down below. Says RCMP earlier were firing into densest bush west and northwest. Says this area was very heavily treed. He couldn't see any people in this area.

Driver drove to other side of clearing to north of Red. There was discussion by RCMP about going outside to effect an arrest. Then there was a radio message from Yellow and Blue that they were on way to attempt extraction of Red. As Green was sitting on north side of clearing, RCMP were sitting down in rear. Says RCMP came up with plan to back Bison to rear of Red. RCMP provided covering fire, rear ramp was down, a member crossed and then the ramp was closed. He can't say if there was any fire coming at them at this time. He could hear RCMP in his own Bison firing. When ramps dropped, RCMP stood in Green and each fired into own area of responsibility. He saw one person run "extremely quickly" from Red to Green 4-5 metres distance. Doesn't know who this person was. Then ramp was raised. GT didn't raise ramp.

After this, RCMP continued with slower rate of fire waiting for other Bisons to arrive. During this time, he can't say whether or not his Bison was taking fire. Says because of location he was in, shots fired from rear echo in his area. After awhile, his hearing became dampened.

After Yellow and Blue arrived, plan was made to back Green to Red as other two took up positions on each side. Once Green was in position, two members opened combat hatch, unhooked A-frame tow bar and pulled it inside. Three members went out to hook up vehicles. Wilby, Smyth and Maze were the three. They took ten minutes to hook up the vehicles. Then they left and went back to Zulu. He had chance to look at Bison at Zulu. Saw that driver's mirror was shot, pintle mount around his hatch had been shot, and one of the antenna mounts had been hit. Saw also that top hatch had a few holes in it.

In yellow photo album, he identifies Green Bison towing Red. He recognizes photos to be taken at Zulu. GT identifies various photos of Red and Green Bison and their various parts. Points out "through and through" bullet hole in hatch edge of Green Bison. Says this hatch is in rear of Bison and says this hatch opens to left hand side. LB asks if this hole was there before they left to go to the Red Bison. GT: "Sir, that bullet hole was definitely not there when we left."

GT also shows bracket near driver's hatch with hole in it. He points out hole in driver's rear view mirror and says this hole wasn't there either before this incident. Shows another "through and through" bullet hole in hatch opposite to one mentioned earlier. This hole wasn't there earlier. There are some marks in pictures that he can't identify.

GT remained at Gustafsen Lake until Sept. 26. He then returned to Calgary and regular duties.

HR - GT says he examined Green Bison for only a short time. Says that Bison was at Zulu for 30-40 minutes when he was getting water and rations before returning to duty. He only took a cursory look. Later, he and driver washed down vehicle and had a better look. RCMP also looked. Says they cleaned it with hammer to knock off heavier mud. "We'd bang the mud, it would drop off, and then have a look." The driver wielded the hammer under GT's command. No other person took a wallop with the hammer.

Confirms Bison is about 7 feet tall, 14 feet long and 14 tons fully loaded. His small arms training includes all Canadian Armed Forces small arms. He is also qualified to run a firing range for weapons ranging from pistols to 84mm recoilless rifles. He's a marksman. Has fired C-7, FN-C1, all small arms used by Canadian Forces. Knows of M-16 RCMP uses, but has never fired it. Says the examination with the hammer lasted about an hour. He made no notes.

GT says that hatches protrude 8-10 inches from edge of vehicle when they are opened fully.

After he heard explosion, he heard gunfire. He doesn't know how many shots. Says he could tell the difference between the sound of RCMP M-16s and the sound of other weapons by their reports. Says that he knew weapons the camp was using were AK-47 assault style rifles and FN they saw on news. Says he knew of one AK because he saw it on the news. Says this was news of a display of weapons in which there was an AK-47 displayed. GT says he identified shots as not being M-16. GT agrees that RCMP also is equipped with 7.62 sniper rifle. Admits he heard RCMP sniper rifle being used later. Says that fire he heard was semi-auto fire. The RCMP sniper rifles are bolt action.

Says he heard explosion and then a few minutes later, he heard gunfire. Says he heard more than 10, less than 50. He didn't hear two rounds fired, and then two more rounds fired. GT explains that once the vehicle was started, things were quite noisy and he couldn't hear things at a distance. Says that the 10-50 rounds were fired before he got the Bison ready to move.

GT agrees that the sniper rifle had a harsher sound then the M-16. Says that if he was close enough, he could distinguish it from other guns he heard. Within 400 metres of fire, he could pick out differences between M-16 .223 rounds, 7.62 x 39mm rounds, and 7.62 x 51mm rounds.

HR has GT look at his statement. HR reads a line that says "things are a little fuzzy now." GT agrees this is what he said in the concluding paragraph. HR reads further that GT heard "a heavier report, so I assumed they were belligerent weapons because all the film clips showed AK or FN style weapons." GT says that these film clips were on TV in Kamloops armouries. Chilliwack ERT and military members were there when this was shown.

MB/ Without jury. GW would like to speak at end of day on changing OJ's bail.

J - says that jury member who sustained injury is still injured and would like to leave at 3:00 p.m. for doctor's appointment. J would also like Defense to get together to find ways to streamline trial.

ST - is wondering about voirdire regarding Aug. 25 vehicle search. Crown was supposed to put in written arguments and ST hasn't heard anything yet. Is also concerned about statement made to undercover by Dionne. ST says that this has yet to be brought up too. J says all this, including GW's request, can be dealt with after 3:00 p.m.

Jury in. J tells jury they'll be free to leave at 3:00 p.m. today.

HR cont'd with Trelnuk - GT agrees that he was given report on rules of engagement by commanding officer. He signed this. HR suggests that this was to say that the army was on loan to the RCMP and that they would not become involved in police operations. GT agrees. GT admits that he allowed RCMP to use 5.56mm ammunition. Believes RCMP fired 1400 rounds of military ammunition. That's because RCMP had spent their own 700-800 rounds. GT agrees that 2200 rounds were fired at the "belligerents". GT says belligerents can mean the enemy, but he meant it to mean the personnel the RCMP were trying to arrest.

When he was shown videos from news, he remembers film clips of people wearing fatigues and people firing these weapons. Says this was on the news, sometimes twice a day. May have seen news 15-20 times. Denies that news announcers embellished news - "The film clips were pretty self-explanatory."

GT agrees that when they were heading for Red Bison, he can't tell how fast they were driving. In statement, he said that he was travelling so fast that they missed Lakeshore Road and ended up by the red truck. GT explains that these heavy vehicles don't stop on a dime when travelling faster than 40 kph.

An A-frame tow bar was mounted on roof of Green Bison between rear air sentry hatch and the main hatch. Says the hatches were already open. Members would only have to stick arms out up to their elbows to pull frame in. Frame weighs only 50-60 pounds. Was then pulled in and then taken out of rear combat hatch. Says that the members didn't have to take frame anywhere because Bison was backed right up to Red. They would have just stepped out of the combat hatch and put it on right there.

GT agrees that he had to make a report regarding the use of military ammo by the RCMP. Admits about 2200 rounds were fired from the Green Bison.

GT says that Bison will stop 7.62mm armour-piercing bullets. GT says that armour-piercing bullets are filled with heavier penetrator - usually tungsten. Agrees that this kind of ammo is not found in hunting stores for moose hunting. Says that to kill, you want to use bullets that will cause massive hemorrhaging. Agrees that in army, average soldier is issued ball (full metal jacket) ammo. Says the only armour-piercing bullets issued are to 50 calibre machine guns. Agrees that he is safe in the Bison while being fired on.

ST - GT saw news clips of persons firing FN rifle. Says there were people seen carrying AK-47. The news clips said that the images came from Gustafsen Lake. Says that he had no reason to disbelieve the newscasters. GT agrees that he can't know when they were taken. GT says that he was in the armoury from Aug. 27 to ?. Every day he was in Kamloops, they watched the news. They studied them because they knew they might be going to Gustafsen Lake. Photos he showed Bidwell came down chain of command from Lt. Blanc. These were faxed photocopies that were not very clear. He can't remember if there were other things printed on them. He was given photos, showed them to other commanders and drivers, then he gave them back to Lt. Blanc. Can't recall how many photos there were. He couldn't relate any of the photos to what he saw on TV.

GT says that there were no stun grenades thrown while Bison was moving. Only when the vehicles were hooking up to each other to keep people from getting too close. He can't recall how many were thrown. RCMP told him that they would be thrown to keep people back. Says he was too busy talking to driver and listening to intercom to notice how many were thrown. Denies that there was too much chaos in the Bison to notice. Says that during hook-up, Blue and Yellow were also laying down cover fire, so he couldn't make out any incoming fire then.

GT says that on a daily basis, Lt. Blanc gave him orders. GT says that any orders they got from RCMP were relayed through Lt. Blanc. "There was nothing informal about it." Order he received to move on Sept. 11 came from RCMP. GT agrees that when RCMP gave orders, he would comply as long as vehicles and those inside would not be endangered.

Agrees that he didn't have direct link to Eye in the Sky. He remembers Wilby speaking to higher headquarters before Wilby could do anything. Then orders would come through Wilby because he was team leader. Doesn't know how long time elapsed between explosion and actually moving. Wilby told him to prepare the vehicle to move. GT heard Wilby asking permission to go in. GT didn't actually hear any orders coming directly because it all came through Wilby. Says Wilby asked twice before being allowed to be let go. All this happened before Bidwell radioed to say that Red Bison was disabled. GT says it wasn't his place to radio Bidwell to find out what was going on. He does recall Bidwell calling directly to say that he's disabled. GT says it's confusing to remember. "It's a bit fuzzy."

GT remembers Elders coming in, but can't recall if their code name was the "Dream Team". GT says that he didn't see the Dream Team go in and that by the time the Bison got going, he was told that the Elders had already left. GT says that he is sure that when he got to roadblock, there was no van of Elders there. He doesn't remember the Bison passing the van. GT says that he understood that the Elders had already come and gone by the time his Bison left. He says the Bison didn't leave Zulu until mid-afternoon. Was getting information from Wilby. Says that Elders weren't there for the explosion. Says the Elders had come and gone on the 10th.

GT says that Lt. Blanc never complained about the use of the army as a glorified taxi service. GT says there was no grumbling between him and Bidwell and Schlueter. They just went about their business and the tasks assigned.

GW - On Sept. 5, GT says that he assisted the RCMP in an extraction of the Prince George ERT. Says he took people back to Zulu. Says Zulu is off the 1100 Road. GW asks for exhibit with "Monkey and baboon and all that." Chuckles. Ex. 5 shown to GT. GT confirms that "B" is close to Zulu. GT can't remember where extraction point was. Says he left Zulu with Chilliwack ERT, picked up member of Victoria Major Crime Unit, went to place where Prince George ERT were, and then escorted them out. GW suggests they went in because there was a report that Prince George had come under fire. GT doesn't recall report mentioning gunfire.

L/ GW cont'd with Trelnuk - Extraction took place in the morning of Sept. 5. Prince George asked for an escort. GT recalls nothing of them being shot at. Says it simply entailed driving in and escorting them out. He doesn't recall a newspaper saying "Army helps RCMP". GW says that on evening of Sept. 6, there is a report of RCMP being fired on and of the army coming in to help them out. GT heard nothing of it. Figures he would have heard of RCMP being shot at.

GT says media was two km down road from Zulu. Agrees that this was a large collection of media. Says that media never got close to us. GW asks if GT ever put the APC up for the media to film. GT says that the media were filming when Bisons drove past media roadblock. Later, the RCMP media person had media come out to where the APCs were to film. Says Lt. Blanc had control of where and how Bisons are used. Says RCMP organized the event. GW asks whose authority allowed military Bisons to be used as a backdrop for Wilby's interview. GT didn't authorize this. Says this took place at Zulu and he was there at time. RCMP gave permission for media to come out to Zulu. GT knew this was still a high security area.

When tow bar was hooked up between Green and Red, GT says Yellow went first, Green pulled Red, and Blue followed. Understood instructions were to go along Lakeshore Road to 1000 Road and then to go north. Says that they stopped at observation post on 1000 Road and picked up equipment there. Then continued north. Checked tow bar and then went to Zulu.

GW has sheriff play video taken from Wescam of clearing where Bison was disabled. GT agrees that area is vast. On video, there are four Bisons in a tight diamond formation just prior to moving out. Bisons begin moving. GT doesn't remember hearing any shots while they were moving. Says that he can't remember one way or the other because he was so busy communicating on the radio and with the driver, that he didn't notice. Agrees that 2200 rounds were fired from his Bison alone.

Aware that there were some RCMP members across the lake. He understands that there might have been cover fire directed northwest of the lake into the woods.

Says he saw the camp on aerial photos as well as after the camp had been cleared. He was there because he was transporting RCMP to site.

Says that Bisons stopped at original observation position on 1000 Road to pick up day packs and sleeping bags. On video, you can see Bisons stop. He doesn't know who stayed in area after Green Bison left to help Red Bison. Agrees that he said that this position was 200 yards north of the roadblock.

He agrees that he doesn't know which RCMP were firing when. Knows what "friendly fire" means. He never saw RCMP firing at him. He never saw video of RCMP firing at him. He says that he cannot say where all the other ERT members were when they were firing.

Video stopped and made exhibit. Another video is played. This is the one shown earlier taken from Green Bison rear deck of it towing Red Bison down road. GT agrees that this is what the view would have been if you were standing in his Bison looking down from the rear. Man seen standing talking to cameraman. GW says that this man is giving a description. GT identifies man as Cst. Neil Smyth. GT doesn't recall Smyth speaking to cameraman. GT says that he was speaking to Bidwell and they agreed to stop to let the transmissions cool down. GT agrees that newsman or woman could not be allowed to tape from Bison. GT says he thinks this is taken by RCMP officer used in media relations. GT doesn't know what the RCMP would use this footage for. GT agrees that media can be very effective in creating an image. GT doesn't know who this RCMP media man was.

DC - GT can't recall how many Bisons were parked when RCMP allowed media into Zulu. Says he was consulted by Capt. MacDonald who is liaison with Western Land Area Command. MacDonald told him that RCMP wanted to show vehicles to media. GT was also asked to speak, but was told not to give specifics of vehicle because data was still classified then. He was not given questions and answers in advance. He was free to talk in his own manner as long as he didn't disclose sensitive data. He was only asked to speak of events from Sept. 11. Confirms that this was initiated by the RCMP, not the military.

After he heard explosion on Sept. 11, he heard small arms fire. GT says that some of this was different from RCMP M-16s that fired .223 rounds which are considerably smaller then .308 rounds. DC suggests that .308 rounds he heard could be ERT snipers. GT says that if the snipers were firing from south side of lake, the thump of the fire would have sounded dull. The shots he heard were loud cracks indicating the fire came from a closer distance. GT didn't know that there were two RCMP ERT teams providing covering fire from across the lake.

GT says he assumed fire was coming from northwest when he came up to Red Bison because this was the thickest bush. GT agrees that he saw strike marks on all four sides of the Bison later. GT says that friendly fire is something always to be guarded against. GT says that he assumes that because bush was thin to south of them, people across the lake with sniper scopes or spotting scopes would have seen where Bisons are.

DC reads from GT's statement where GT noted that RCMP were not trained soldiers, so after ramps were dropped, they were quickly raised again. GT clarifies that police are not trained to go forward into fire and put on a platoon attack. He says that things got pretty loud after ramps went up and when Blue and Yellow pulled up. Says that he was pretty busy on the radio so he couldn't note everything that was going on.

GT thinks it took five minutes for the members to pull the towbar down through top hatches. Then took ten minutes to hook up bar. Agrees that they had put the bar on upside down first.

Says that he thinks there were about nine people in the Bison. He doesn't remember if those members were laying down extra fire during this 15 minutes pickup time. He knows that Yellow and Blue were laying down extra fire.

MA - GT clarifies that the 1,400 rounds he carried was not to resupply the RCMP. He had a case, as per standard, for the second in command to carry. 1,820 rounds in a case. Both he and driver Horton carried C-7s. He doesn't know if Horton's C-7 was used. He says that if a military C-7 is used, he would have to tell Lt. Blanc of its use. MA notes that in GT's statement he said that he provided an incident report to Lt. Blanc regarding the use of army ammo. GT agrees that he filled out a one page report. He has no copy of it.

Normal soldier carries 250 rounds ammo - five magazines (150) plus 100 rounds in a bandolier. There is also a case in his Bison. He gets his ammo through Capt. MacDonald at Zulu who would get it from Chilliwack. He says that he destroyed the notes from his field message pad as after any operation. He was ordered to give all maps and notes to Lt. Blanc. He says he may have given some notes to Lt. Blanc.

GT thinks that the date on his statement is wrong. He says that the RCMP officer interviewing him didn't ask if he had any notes in his field message pad. He was asked how many rounds were fired, which is reflected in the statement. MA pulls out a letter from JF that states that each soldier was issued 120 rounds of ammo. GT clarifies that bandoliers were not available which is why they were issued a case. GT admits that it wouldn't be fair to say that there was 10,000 rounds of ammo. Doesn't know how many rounds he signed for because he just signed them in.

Says that RCMP explosive ordnance team trained with them in Kamloops and showed them how to disarm various explosives. Says he may have seen them one time at Gustafsen Lake. He had nothing to do with laying explosives for red truck.

Says that he used a helmet. Agrees that there was a lot of noise that day. Knows that his C-7 was used. Doesn't know if Horton's was used. He came up with amount of ammo expended by counting how much ammo was left in crate. He was told that each RCMP member carried three full magazines. He doesn't know for sure if they carried extra rounds. Says that most of the casings would have been ejected out of the vehicle. Those that fell to the floor and that didn't fall through holes in floor were turned in by GT to RCMP member at Zulu before the Bison and team were redeployed.

Agrees that he didn't know there were RCMP members firing from east side of lake or from Perch. Says that communications were excellent, but he didn't hear of cover fire coming from RCMP. GT agrees that after looking over his Green Bison, he counted maybe ten bullet marks on the vehicle.

There is a short break for the injured jury member.

SF - GT agrees that he wasn't sent to Gustafsen Lake as a peacekeeper. He agrees that he is paid by Government. GT can't remember the last time the military was sent in to assist the RCMP. Says that maybe some sort of police asked for help at Oka, but isn't sure. He wasn't there.

At meeting in armouries in Kamloops, he wasn't told of Aug. 21 meeting scheduled for Lyle James, the Sundancers, with the RCMP in attendance.

He didn't know Bruce Clark was the camp's legal counsel. He didn't know the camp members were looking for a rule of law solution through international law. Had never spoken to the negotiators.

Wasn't told of racial background of people at camp except that they were aboriginal. He didn't give it any particular thought one way or the other. Wasn't aware that they were standing on inherent or constitutional rights.

He says no-shoot zone was not an issue to military personnel because they were not to engage. No one told him where no-shoot zone was.

He didn't know Shuswap people are protected by international law. Wasn't aware of a burial ground there. "We went to Gustafsen Lake to do a job and that was to transport people from A to B and that's what we did." Didn't know that they had gone into the no-shoot zone. He had heard mention of minors and women in the camp from the news. He heard this before the Sept. 11 shooting. He agrees that he didn't know what the larger issues were and who the people were that were involved.

No further questions for Trelnuk. Jury stood down for day.

GW - wants to review OJ's bail. He hasn't got transcripts yet, but says that sheriffs have got the tapes in transit to the transcription service. Says OJ has been in jail for a month. His charges have been stayed and his surety has been yanked.

GW notes that David Pena received four months for a truckful of weapons, including an AK-47. The best the Crown has shown is that OJ has a fingerprint on a single weapon. He was unarmed in the lake during the firefight. Even if found guilty, he couldn't get more than four months. GW doesn't think it's fair that OJ be held because he doesn't have any money. Over the months, GW has come to know OJ and doesn't think he'll range very far. J says that if GW is going to become a character reference, it puts him in a difficult position. GW says that he's not becoming a character reference, but he has observed him over time and can say OJ has limited needs and doesn't have a car or the resources to buy airline tickets. GW is hoping that in the public interest, conditions could be changed to reduce the surety to $5,000. GW says often the courts are concerned about what the media will think if a person is released. J says that's the last thing on his mind. GW understands, but says that this could save the public money by keeping him out of jail and out of the hospital with Hepatitis.

LB - can't understand why a transcript isn't available, since GW had 15 days to get them.

J doesn't know how he can come to a position when he doesn't know how the original position came to be. J is completely in the dark right now. He would like to wait until transcripts are available.

GW says that they are on the way and will give a copy to LB as soon as possible.

MA - Notes that the Crown is very selective about who it is calling to testify. One person of 18 in the Yellow Bison has been called - the only one not to fire his weapon. A military man, who in his statement believes that some of the fire to his Bison was caused by friendly fire, is also not being called. One ERT member says he fired over a thousand rounds himself. Crown says it doesn't have to bring these people in and MA says that a half day of applications can be spent getting the witnesses forward, but that will only delay the trial further.

J - would like MA's position to be considered by Crown to help reduce court time. J: "I'm worried that this trial will collapse on its own weight."

HR - says that Lt. Blanc's statement is full of information he got by interviewing his own personnel. There are pages of useless information here. HR says that Lt. Blanc's statement is a waste of time and a day could be spent crossing him to discover that it comes to mean nothing. This is typical of the kind of case the Crown has put forward. HR suggests that Lt. Blanc could be pulled and replaced by someone else more useful and a half day of trial could be replaced.

J hopes that Counsel could get together and work things out.

   * 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