Trial, Week 2: Summary - July 17


WEEK 2: JULY 15 - 19, 1996

   * Day 5: Monday, July 15                * Day 8: Thursday, July 18
   * Day 6: Tuesday, July 16               * Day 9: Friday, July 19 
   * Day 7: Wednesday, July 17


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

Posted by FreeMedia - see also FreeMedia's account of Week Two

THURSDAY, JULY 18, 1996 - DAY 8

Before the jury was brought in, George Wool told the judge that JoJo Ignace was missing. Judge Josephson presumed that JoJo had absconded and issued a warrant for his arrest. Wool also secured permission for Trond Halle to use a laptop computer to take notes during the proceedings.

Manuel Azevedo then expressed the Defense's frustration with the Crown's snail pace release of disclosures. He said the Crown was determining relevance by omitting some disclosures. He wanted the grazing permits issued to Lyle James and the missing portions of Cpl. Hicks' notebook. Lance Bernard protested that the Defense can't ask for everything, but conceded that if pushed, he would find the grazing permits. Crown Co-counsel Jennifer Fawcus offered the missing portions of Hicks' notes, but Azevedo said there was still missing material. The Defense also wanted all records of communications between the RCMP and non-governmental agencies citing James' testimony yesterday that implied that politics were involved. The fact that Lyle James had spoken to the head of the B.C. Reform Party, Jack Weisgerber and that B.C.'s Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh took a hard stance before an election were examples of the possible politicking going on. If Weisgerber sent a letter to the RCMP, then the Defense wanted that to advance an "abuse of process" argument. Azevedo was critical of the fact that the most relevant material had only arrived in the last two weeks, after the trial had begun. He was still waiting for the names of all police officers involved in the operation and their capacities. Why hadn't he received this yet? He finally informed the court that he was filing a "Habeas Corpus" application regarding the illegal reversal of Wolverine's bail by Chief Justice Dohm. Lyle James took the stand again as the jury was brought in. George Wool continued his cross-examination with questions about the barbed wire fence that ran past the eastern edge of the Sundance grounds, north of Gustafsen Lake. James was convinced that the fence was the eastern boundary of his Lot, 114. When asked about the status of the land on the eastern side of the fence, he denied that it was Indian or Crown land. But once he consulted the questionable map that the Crown unsuccessfully tried to admit as evidence on July 16, 1996 (see notes from that day), James finally admitted that the land east of the fence on Lot 114 was Crown land. However, he refused to admit that the Sundance Arbor was less then a hundred feet west of that fence. Acknowledging that "old (land) surveys take precedence over new surveys", James admitted that he had never surveyed Lot 114 himself and that he didn't know anyone who had done so in the past. Despite never having surveyed the property, James testified that he told the media the land was his.

Wool then showed James the 1887 archival government document he brought out yesterday and asked James if he had any doubt now about the land. "Absolutely not," stated James. "It's where we designated it." Wool asked James if he was stubborn and James replied, "about some things, yes." Wool then asked him if "there are some things you're not stubborn about". James shot back "No" and the jury and the spectators had a good laugh. Wool suggested that James would not change his mind that the land is his no matter what evidence was put before him and James replied that he had "not one speck of doubt." "No more questions," replied Wool.

Don Campbell then questioned James about the burial grounds near the Sundance Arbor. James insisted that he knew of no burial grounds there. "That's all hearsay," he said. "I haven't seen a speck of proof." He also said that the oldest woman on the Dog Creek Reserve, Lily Harry (mother of elected Band Chief Agnes Snow) had never told him of any burial grounds there. When pressed, James admitted that Harry had never said that there weren't burial grounds there, only that she had never mentioned their existence. He admitted that there were cemeteries on his other properties that he treated with respect, though he wasn't aware of any legal obligation to do so. Campbell then challenged James' claim that there was no dispute over the land and showed him the "agreement" his solicitors had drafted for the July 5, 1993 meeting. One paragraph stated that "the property is private property owned by the Company". If the meeting was held to address the concerns of having a Sundance ceremony, not whose land it was, then what was the purpose of that paragraph? James finally admitted that there may have been some question of land ownership after all.

When asked about the events of June 13, 1995, James stated that the RCMP told him "we won't go in there with you" because "if we go in there, we might upset them." Also, it was a civil matter and, as Campbell said, "Unless they (the Sundancers) commit a crime, the RCMP wouldn't be involved". James said that his lawyers informed him that it would be a crime if Percy resisted eviction, and that would be reason enough for the RCMP to get involved. James maintained that his group of people didn't have any weapons and that he didn't think that the native person he spoke with was anxious about a bullwhip being cracked by one of the cowboys. James didn't think the natives had any reason to be afraid of them, but when asked about a drunk cowboy that came riding into the camp one night yelling obscenities, he claimed he didn't know anything about that. He finally conceded that both the Sundancers and his cowboys had a mutual concern about safety.

James insisted that the day after the eviction notice was served, his cowboys were not going to go back into the camp to forcibly remove the Sundancers, but were only going in to take a look. James was stopped by police near the camp and told that forestry workers had reported being shot at in the area and that the cowboys should stay away. After a meeting on June 17, 1995, James said he had nothing to do with events. When asked what percentage of land the Sundance grounds occupied on his 300,000 acres, James insisted that it was beside the point - it had to do with fences, guards at gate and fishermen that were "threatened". James was conveniently not aware of complaints made by the Sundancers of fishermen drinking near the Sundance grounds. Campbell reminded James of the benefits he enjoys because of his close relationship with the Canoe Creek Band, including water and roads provided by the government. He then suggested that James could maintain his good relationship with his neighbours by using the RCMP to remove the Sundancers at Gustafsen Lake. James denied the allegation, insisting that "I wanted the RCMP to maintain order."

Manuel Azevedo continued the cross-examination of James regarding the events of June 13, 1995. James denied telling the police that morning that he "wasn't going to back down this time". He also denied saying that he was going to serve the notice and then tear everything down at the Sundance camp. James later admitted that he had hired a new lawyer in 100 Mile House to make it easier to get a court order and that his intentions were to bulldoze the camp as soon as everyone left the camp.

He couldn't remember if the police had told him to get a court order that day, but admitted that he may have told the police that he couldn't afford the money for the lawyers. James agreed that he was upset on June 13th when he phoned the RCMP to tell them he was serving a trespass notice to Percy Rosette, but denied phoning the police the next day to inform them that he was still intending to destroy the camp. He didn't remember anyone calling in with that message nor telling Cpl. Hicks the same thing. His memory also failed to recall telling Hicks that there would be no Sundance this year but remembered telling Staff Sgt. Sarich that he wanted the Indians off his land. When asked about comments his cowboys made to the Sundancers on June 13, 1995, like "red nigger", he replied, "I can't blame anyone, but there were some hot heads with me that may have said things."

Azevedo then directed James to two incidents that James steadfastly insisted were the doing of the Sundancers. The first involved a set of horse halters and hobbles that cowboy Lindsay Turnbull reported stolen. James hadn't heard that they were later found by Turnbull. The other incident was the 1992 shooting of a camper's tent at the lake (two Caucasian males were questioned, but no charges were laid.) Despite James' reluctance to admit these two incidents were unrelated to the camp, an exasperated Azevedo finally got the stubborn rancher to admit that he told Staff Sgt. Sarich that the natives were responsible.

Defendant Shelagh Franklin, representing herself, then questioned James about an invitation Percy Rosette had sent to James to attend a public forum in Williams Lake on September 25 and 26, 1993. He remembered the letter and assumed the forum had to do with land issues, but he never went nor sent anyone in his place. He claimed that he never showed Percy a copy of his deed because "anyone could get a copy". Franklin then read James a portion of the 1763 Royal Proclamation which stated that colonists could only legally acquire land if it was first sold or treatied by the natives. When asked if he was aware that the Proclamation had been ratified by the 1982 Constitution, he retorted that "it's up to the government to solve." James wasn't aware that the Shuswap people had never made a treaty nor that they had been uprooted and replaced by cows.

Lyle James was then dismissed by the judge and his soft-spoken son, Don James, was the next Crown witness to take the stand (witness #8). Jennifer Fawcus began her questions by establishing that Don had arrived with his family in the Cariboo in 1972 and that he had an intimate knowledge of the James Cattle Company's operations. He described how cattle was moved along the northern shore of Gustafsen Lake to get them to Crown grazing lands. He complained that the newly erected fence on the western edge of the Sundance grounds made moving cattle difficult because of the narrow gate. He remembered his first meeting with Percy Rosette in 1993 by the lake. He was nervous at the time, but admitted that the atmosphere was neither friendly nor unfriendly.

Don James and the jury were released early, in order for the Defense to deal with other matters. The judge had viewed Dale James' original videotape shot on June 13, 1995, as well as the VHS copy made from it and ruled that it was complete and thus admissible. He also suggested to the Defense that the events of June 14, 1995 regarding forestry workers' reports of a shot fired at them, be made admissible to the jury in order for them to better understand why there was an increased RCMP presence that day. (Judge Josephson had earlier ruled in pre-trial sessions that the events of June 14, 1995 were inadmissible since there was no evidence connecting it to the defendants.) George Wool then asked that the 1887 document from Victoria be made admissible as evidence. When the judge asked about its relevance, Wool stated that it threw into doubt where Lot 114 was originally located. Lance Bernard insisted that the document was not a Crown exhibit and should be led later by the Defense. The judge agreed.

   * Day 5: Monday, July 15                * Day 8: Thursday, July 18
   * Day 6: Tuesday, July 16               * Day 9: Friday, July 19 
   * Day 7: Wednesday, July 17