* Day 1: Monday, July 8 * Day 3: Wednesday, July 10 * Day 2: Tuesday, July 9 * Day 4: Thursday, July 11
Defendant Shelagh Franklin asked the judge that each member of the jury be given a copy of her jurisdictional defense, but he denied her request. The five defense lawyers then challenged the Crown's introduction of a binder of photographs that show each of the Defenders in handcuffs. The defense called it prejudicial and a further example of the demonization of the accused by the RCMP. Shelagh Franklin stated, "I think the bulletproof glass here is enough to criminalize us. We don't need the photographs." However, the judge ruled that they were admissible, then warned the jury when they came in that the photographs of the accused in handcuffs were completely neutral exhibits and that the jury should not infer anything from them.
Three RCMP officers then took the stand for the Prosecution. They were: Sgt. Robert James Grey, 29 years on the force; Cpl. Douglas William Kiloh, 18 years on the force and Cpl. William Guignon, 23 years on the force. Sgt. Grey arrested Glen Deneault and Edward Dick on September 11, 1995, Ron "Paintball" Dionne and Sheila Ignace on September 12, 1995 and Brent "Shadow" Potulicki on September 13, 1995. Cpl. Kiloh arrested Stuart and Teddy Dick on August 30, 1995 and was present on September 20, 1995 during the search of the camp after the standoff. Cpl. Guignon was part of the arrest team of September 17, 1995 and arrested JoJo Ignace, Suniva Bronson and Percy Rosette.
The officers gave mundane details of the arrest of each of the accused, then identified each defendant in the photo album, as well as in the courtroom. "Arrest" and "identification" were key points for the defense, since some of the Defenders had been "arrested" three or four times before they were handed over to the "arresting officer" who finally read them their rights. The "arresting" officer simply meant the officer who stood by the accused while he or she was videotaped and photographed five or six times, usually in mid-transit. This plan to stop each accused mid-way through arrest for photographs out in the middle of nowhere was created by Sgt. Shakey and Inspector Bass. All three officers admitted that it was not a normal procedure. The usual procedure for arrests is to take an accused directly to the station and process and photograph them there. Instead, the Defenders were usually "detained" by ERT members, then passed on to an courtroom. "Arrest" and "identification" were key points for the defense, since some of the Defenders had been "arrested" three or four times before they were handed over to the "arresting officer" who finally read them their rights. The "arresting" officer simply meant the officer who stood by the accused while he or she was videotaped and photographed five or six times, usually in mid-transit. This plan to stop each accused mid-way through arrest for photographs out in the middle of nowhere was created by Sgt. Shakey and Inspector Bass. All three officers admitted that it was not a normal procedure. The usual procedure for arrests is to take an accused directly to the station and process and photograph them there. Instead, the Defenders were usually "detained" by ERT members, then passed on to an "arresting" officer for the photo shoot stopover. Although all three officers testified that the Defenders were calm and co-operative, all Defenders had to wear plastic handcuffs, which are more binding and uncomfortable than metal ones. Some Defenders had also been roughed up by ERT members during the transition.
Identification became a key issue when Sgt. Grey admitted that he had viewed the photographs the day before in order to "refresh" his memory and that the sheriffs had informed him that Shadow wasn't in the court this morning. Cpl. Kiloh admitted that he had asked to have photos of Stuart and Teddy Dick faxed to him a few days earlier to help him identify them.
Although all the officers could remember the people they arrested in detail (after "refreshing" their memory with photographs and videotapes), they were vague about who their superiors were, who was present at the many briefings they attended, or even what the person they arrested was alleged to have done.
Cpl. Kiloh, in particular, had an extremely evasive air to his testimony. As he gave his answer to a defense lawyer's question, he would look fixedly at the judge, the floor or a point over the jurors heads, but never at the lawyer cross-examining him.
Cpl. Guignon testified that although Percy Rosette spoke in a "native dialect" upon his arrest, Cpl. Guignon never asked a native officer to review the videotape footage to hear what Percy had said. He also admitted that no effort had been made to have any native officers at the arrest site or at the detachment.
When Shelagh Franklin asked Cpl. Kiloh if it was true that Bruce Clark had told him that the RCMP didn't have jurisdiction, Judge Josephson replied that "it doesn't matter who told the Corporal he had jurisdiction" and that the opinion of Dr. Clark was irrelevant.
The day ended with defense lawyer Manuel Azevedo requesting disclosures from Crown Counsel, specifically the RCMP's operational plan. Shelagh Franklin asked for the videotapes of Bruce Clark in the negotiator's trailer with the RCMP. Lance Bernard gave a poor excuse for the delay of these disclosures (as he has done for all disclosures constantly requested by Defense), and the judge urged the Crown to move as fast as it can to accommodate the defense.
Although Flemming and another RCMP officer had arrived in Hinton without warning, Doc co-operated and gave them ways of resolving the situation peacefully. He told them to get in touch with a native man by the name of Jim Potts, a retired RCMP Staff Sgt who was well-known and respected. He also gave them the address of John Stevens, the medicine man for the people in the camp. Doc had also explained to Flemming the issues of jurisdiction and constitutional law, the need for a third party tribunal, the significance and importance of the sundance and an assurance that the people in the camp wanted John "Doc" Hill (also known as Splitting the Sky), ostensibly to see if Doc could help end the "standoff".
Although Flemming and another RCMP officer had arrived in Hinton without warning, Doc co-operated and gave them ways of resolving the situation peacefully. He told them to get in touch with a native man by the name of Jim Potts, a retired RCMP Staff Sgt who was well-known and respected. that it was John Stevens who eventually brought about a peaceful settlement to the "standoff". And Flemming agreed with him!
At one point Cst. Flemming stated that he didn't remember which superior he gave the names to at a briefing in 100 Mile House on September 4, 1995, but upon reviewing his notes he contradicted himself by saying stated that he wasn't at 100 Mile House on September 4th, 5th, 7th or 8th. Wool was trying to find out if Flemming had heard any reports of shooting incidents on September 4, 1995. Flemming claimed he heard nothing about the incident and didn't have notes of any shooting from September 5-10, 1995, even though it was highly publicized. (September 4th was the bogus shooting incident where RCMP officers claimed they were shot at and stalked through the bushes by natives all night. In fact, a truck full of ERT members accidently ran their vehicle into a tree branch and panicked, assuming themselves to be under attack. This non-existent attack was used by the RCMP to justify the introduction of the military and armoured personnel carriers into the area.) At this point Judge Josephson became concerned about the line of questioning around the press conference of this incident and how it related to this witness. "This is not an inquiry, though there may be one later, this is a trial. If all the witnesses are questioned this way, we will be here until Christmas." George Wool raised his head, looked the judge in the eye and said, "Well, Merry Christmas then." Judge Josephson shot back, "Don't be flippant". Wool replied that these RCMP officers had the information as to who formulated the policy that led to such extensive weaponry and manpower being used against the Defenders. He also made it clear that this trial shouldn't be adjusted for the members of the court, but would last as long as it took to get the truth out.
When defense lawyer Manuel Azevedo was given his opportunity for cross-examining the witness, he complained about the disclosures from the Prosecution. He had only received pages from the officer's notebook relating to OJ's arrest, although this officer had other important roles in the implementation of the RCMP policy during the "standoff." Cst. Flemming was asked to return in the afternoon when the Defense had a chance to look over the new notes the Prosecution made available. Each lawyer was given 40 copied pages comprising the entire contents (it is hoped) of Cst. Flemming's notebook.
Cpl. Murray Smith, also of the Serious Crime Unit, then took the stand and gave details of his arrest of Rob Flemming and Jones William Ignace (Wolverine) on September 17, 1995. When Cpl. Smith was asked to point out Wolverine in the court, he began to smile because Wolverine was sitting immediately to his right in bright red prison clothes, making him an easy target for identification. Wolverine was smiling at the humour of it all and the jury's first introduction to this "terrorist" was of a good nature.
Wolverine's lawyer, Harry Rankin, complained to the judge that the Crown's disclosures of Cpl. Smith's notes only included September 17 to November, 1995, although he was in the area from August 29 to September 29, 1995 and has notes from that time. Cpl. Smith was then asked to step down while his entire notebook was photocopied for the Defense.
Cst. Flemming took the stand again after lunch and admitted that he told Lyle James to clearcut the crime scene. When Manuel Azevedo suggested that this was to hide the fact that the trees were riddled with bullet holes and would be evidence of the thousands of rounds of ammo that the RCMP fired into the camp on September 11, 1995, Flemming said no, but he never came up with any other reason to destroy the trees.
Defense lawyer Sheldon Tate requested more time to read Flemming's notes and asked that Flemming return on Monday. When the Prosecution informed the Judge that the witness was to start his vacation on Monday, Wolverine stood up and said, "What is more important, my time in jail or his holiday?" Flemming quickly agreed to change his holiday plans and return Monday.
Cpl. Murray Smith took the stand again and Harry Rankin proceeded to go through the newly received notes, page by page, explaining that because this is a direct indictment, "we get evidence every day as we go along." It was his way of pointing out to the Crown that this is what would happen if they withheld disclosures again.
Cpl. Smith testified that he had forgotten to write down Wolverine's arrest in his notebook. He agreed that this was a unique occasion and admitted that the arrest was very caref vacation on Monday, Wolverine stood up and said, "What is more important, my time in jail or his holiday?" Flemming quickly agreed to change his holiday plans and return Monday.
Cpl. Murray Smith took the stand again and Harry Rankin proceeded to go through the newly received notes, page by page, explaining that because this is a direct indictment, "we get evidence every day information. "Did they find out anything useful?" "No", was Smith's reply. After this exchange happened several times over several days, Rankin said, "Let's leave them in the bars and move on."
Rankin also established that Cpl. Smith never saw a deed to the land in question, nor did he do any investigation on the title of the land.
George Wool got the most damning testimony out of Cpl. Smith towards the end of the day. After establishing that Suniva Bronson's phone lines were being wiretapped, Wool questioned Smith about the events of October 5, 1995. Suniva was told by Smith to come to Kamloops Detachment to pick up her driver's license. When she arrived, Smith forced her and her mother to watch a videotape taken by the RCMP on September 11, 1995. The video shows a red pick-up truck from the camp going down a forestry road, a blast of smoke raising 60 feet high as the truck hits a land mine, a dog running away and being killed by the RCMP, an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) ramming the disabled truck (with the smoke so thick it would have been impossible to know if anyone was still inside the truck) and finally, two unarmed figures running away. Smith admitted that this was an "investigative technique" to get Suniva talking, if not at the Detachment, then hopefully over her wiretapped phone. The jury's reaction to this information was one of surprise, to say the least. Wool suggested to Smith that the RCMP never informed the public about the dog's death because they feared a public outcry from the SPCA and from dog lovers, but Smith replied that he considered the dog's death "insignificant" compared to officers being shot at. "It wasn't important to the RCMP", he stated. After Wool described the contents of the videotape in great detail, he suggested to Smith that "you wanted to show that segment because it was gruesome." "Agreed," replied Smith.
The jury has been faced with a trial it did not expect. The Crown had scheduled in 14 witnesses to have appeared by the end of this day. Instead, six RCMP officers have been cross-examined for every aspect of their role in this "standoff", rather than the Crown's intention of calling them in solely as "arresting officers". The jury thought the defense would be an issue of land claims, but by the end of the first week they had witnessed the RCMP on trial.
* Day 1: Monday, July 8 * Day 3: Wednesday, July 10 * Day 2: Tuesday, July 9 * Day 4: Thursday, July 11