Trial, Week 3: Summary - July 22


WEEK 3: JULY 22 - 26, 1996

   * Day 10: Monday, July 22                * Day 13: Thursday, July 25
   * Day 11: Tuesday, July 23               * Day 14: Friday, July 26 
   * Day 12: Wednesday, July 24


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

Posted by FreeMedia

MONDAY, JULY 22, 1996 - DAY 10

The sheriffs began padlocking the bullet-proof door between the court and the public gallery today, two weeks after the start of the trial.

Shelagh Franklin asked Judge Josephson about her earlier requests to receive daily transcripts. The judge first wanted an explanation for her request as well as an affidavit stating that she's poor. "This presents a great additional expense to the public", he stated.

Don James, the very soft-spoken son of Lyle James, was then brought in for his third day of cross-examination by the Defense. George Wool continued his questioning from Friday about an article in the 100 Mile Free Press from either 1992 or 1993. The article quoted Staff Sgt. Lindsay who questioned the ownership of the land and then stated that the RCMP would have to invstigate before moving ahead. Don James didn't remember that article, nor did any police come back to him with results of that investigation. He further testified that nobody ever came to him about doing a land survey of Lot 114 - neither the RCMP nor any chief of the Cariboo Tribal Council.

Contrary to his own father's testimony, Don James did admit that on June 13, 1995, when the cowboys went to the Sundance grounds to serve an eviction notice to Percy Rosette, Don had his 30-30 Winchester rifle with him. He admitted that a rifle in a ranch truck is not a big deal and that many people in that area hunt game with rifles. He agreed with Wool's statement that "a rifle is a tool of the trade on a ranch". He admitted that it wouldn't have alarmed him if Percy had a rifle at the camp "if it was just sitting there." Wool then asked the judge if the court interpreter could be allowed to translate what Percy said on Dale James' video of June 13, 1995, but the judge suggested that they deal with it after lunch. (Wool had already made this request on Friday and the judge moved it to today.)

Don Campbell wanted clarification as to how many people were brought along as "witnesses" on June 13, 1995. James thought there were only 10 cowboys at the time the notice was served because two had gone for supper. Campbell wanted to know how it assisted him to have 12 versions of events when they had videotaped the incident and then suggested that the cowboys were used as an intimidation tactic. Don James disagreed - he didn't think 10 cowboys would have made Percy and Toby nervous because there were seven native people at the camp. James listed these people as Percy, Mary "Toby" Pena, Ernie Archie, John Stevens, 2 youngsters and one other person - there might have been a third person with Percy and Toby in the truck. While he admitted that the general consensus in his family was that they wanted the RCMP to deal with the "trespassers", he couldn't remember the family discussing that if the cops wouldn't deal it, they would.

Campbell asked James if he was "aware that signs were posted because of campers drinking and disturbing the sundance?" and he replied, "No, I wasn't". He also wasn't aware that the holes found at the camp were for food storage and admitted that he was never around when shots were fired nor was he ever shot at. He also couldn't say that any of the accused were involved in any of the "shootings". Campbell then questioned James regarding his use of the word "they" to describe who trashed the lodge and the cow camp. "They were the ones that were in the camp, I guess", said James (though he never actually saw anyone). Campbell closed his cross-examination by telling James that "When you say "they" you don't know who was involved".

Under cross-examination by Manuel Azevedo, though, Don James re-stated that "I blame the people in the encampment" for the broken windows and the trashed building. Azevedo also established from James that a trust fund was set up to take care of the children, including Don. James testified that he spoke to his dad about surveying Lot 114 when they were logging the area, approximately 20 years ago.

Don was at the site during the burning of the Arbor, but he didn't remember who set it on fire with a flare. He went back to the site on September 19, 1995 with his dad and his brother Dale. The RCMP were there, but he couldn't remember how many officers were there, except for Bill Leslie and Brian Flemming. He stated that he didn't see any Army personnel there or any bulldozers. He was there for approximately an hour and a half and was given a general tour of the area.

Shelagh Franklin asked for more information about the trust fund, but James wasn't much help. He didn't know if each family member had equal shares in the trust fund or who had the largest share.

He stated that the cattle company has hired at least 50 people from the Canoe Creek Band since 1972. He didn't know if Keray Camille (his brother-in-law) was a councillor on the Band in 1995, nor was he aware that the federal government pays the Band councillors. Franklin then moved on to the meeting at Gustafsen Lake on June 17, 1995 between members of the Cariboo Tribal Council and the people at the lake. Franklin reminded James that at that meeting Don's sister had said "the law has been broken" and asked him if he remembered Jones Ignace replying, "You're right, the law has been broken, but it wasn't the Indian people that were breaking it". James remembered that, but he didn't remember anyone contesting that the land was Indian land or that the people offered to show the law to James' lawyer. He remembered Glen Denault telling Agnes Snow that the Tribal Council was paid by the federal government, but he didn't remember a peaceful solution being offered at the meeting by having the Governor General of Canada open the doors to the Privy Council to hear the case between the Shuswap people and Canada.

Don's brother Dale was then brought in as the Crown's ninth witness. Dale was shown the large aerial photo on the wall and pointed out the wooden fence line west of the Sundance grounds. He said that the old log snake fence was there when they bought the land, but that they didn't want it kept up because it hindered cattle movement. He remembered someone putting up a new fence beside that old wooden fence in early summer of 1995. He then pointed to the wire fence further east of the Sundance grounds and described how the fence and gates caused stress to the cows and made them tired.

Dale stated that he knew Percy before 1988 when he worked for the company and rode with him. He pointed out Percy in the courtroom and then gave details about his involvement with the eviction process of June 13, 1995. He drove to the "rendezvous" point with Scott Bernard and saw that the RCMP and other vehicles were already there. Then the RCMP and some of the cowboys went to the newly constructed fence at the western edge of the Sundance grounds. He videotaped the fence while his father spoke to the police for five to ten minutes. He said he brought the camera along "to remove any doubt of what took place." He recalled recognizing the stove in the cabin as theirs and that he had been aware the stove was missing in the spring of 1995. He recognized the door from the lodge across the lake and said that it was missing since the spring of 1995 too. He didn't videotape while the stove and the door were being removed - Mark Vike shot the video during that time.

Dale and a couple of cowboys put the stove and the door into Dale's truck and he returned the items to the cow camp. He was away from the camp for half an hour and upon his return, there was still nothing happening.

He testified that a young man in his group had just bought a bullwhip, thrown it into their vehicle just before they left, and then practised for a short amount of time while waiting for Percy to arrive. Another cowboy tried playing with the bullwhip too. He said there was no interaction between the cowboys playing with the bullwhip and the people at the camp. He admitted that he didn't videotape them playing with the bullwhip because it "was not a significant event. It was unimportant to me". When Percy returned, he videotaped his father reading the notice to him. He wasn't aware of any weapons in their group.

The videotape of June 13, 1995 was then played and Dale was asked to identify locations and people on the tape. He testified that on June 14, 1995 he went with Scott Bernard and Mark Vike to see if the Sundancers had cleared out. They had arranged to meet other people at the intersection of the Forestry and Lakeshore Roads, but nobody was there when they arrived. They waited for 20 minutes and then went along the road by the lake and spoke to some fishermen. They then proceeded to drive to the camp, assuming that the other people had gone there. After they arrived at the gate they didn't see any other people from their party so they turned around to leave. Dale testified that as they were driving away a man to his right ran after them holding a rifle up in front of him. The man was 100-150 feet away and stopped following them when the truck turned and made its way back to the meeting site.

On June 17, 1995 he attended the meeting at Gustafsen Lake with Don and his sister Helen and testified that he recognized Percy, Toby and Garth Christopher there.

Crown Co-Counsel Jennifer Fawcus asked Dale if any person appeared as a spokesman or leader of the group and he replied "most definitely", identifying this person as Splitting the Sky. He remembered Agnes Snow, Antoine Archie and "many elders from the Dog Creek Reserve" at the meeting. He also remembered a man who spoke of the legalities of the land and identified Jones (Wolverine) Ignace in the courtroom as that man.

Harry Rankin began the cross-examination. Dale admitted that it wasn't unusual to have a gun in that area, but insisted that there were no guns in his vehicle and that he didn't know that Don had a gun with him. He didn't remember any discussion with his father about the cost of getting a court order. While Dale would have prefered that the RCMP went in with them on June 13, 1995, he didn't speak to the police or to his father about this - his father never told him why the police wouldn't come in with them. Dale admitted that he didn't speak to anyone in the camp in a friendly fashion and that Don and Lyle didn't talk to the people at the camp that afternoon either. He admitted that the youths on the video didn't look very comfortable and that it was an uncomfortable atmosphere, but not for him. Although this was the first time that Dale had served an eviction notice, he agreed that he had never heard of anyone also removing a stove or door in the process. He testified that Scott Bernard pulled out the bullwhip when Percy arrived. Dale admitted that the last time he used a whip or saw a man drive cattle with a whip was five years ago. He also didn't know of anyone on the ranch who used one and finally admitted that maybe it wasn't the most sensible thing to have a whip there during a volatile situation.

He denied that anyone had said "red niggers" to the people at the camp. "It's not the character of the family", he said, but then admitted that he didn't hear all the conversations that were going on.

"It wasn't a loving atmosphere, but it wasn't an atmosphere where something like that would be said", James stated. It was hard for him to believe that his friends would say that, and admitted that if given a choice between believing the cowboys or the Indians, he would prefer to believe his hired hands. Rankin then questioned him about the man he saw with a rifle on June 14, 1995.

James thought that he was a dark, native male in his 30's, with very long hair, wearing sweat pants and a shirt of some sort. He admitted that he hasn't seen anyone since then, nor in the courtroom, that he could identify as that person. When Sheldon Tate suggested to Dale James that it would have taken longer than a half hour to take the stove and door back to the cow camp and return to the Sundance grounds, James admitted that he was gone for over an hour. He testified that "red nigger" was discussed with the ranch hands when it came out in the paper and said "that couldn't be." However, he never went to Dan Vike or Larry Hine or the other ranch hands to ask if anyone had said it. He couldn't remember who told him the stove from the cow camp was gone or when it disappeared. Despite being responsible for the equipment, he had never been told of the missing stove and didn't remember ever telling his father or reporting it to the police.

Tate made it clear that the property in the cabin and in the tents were not the property of James Cattle Co. James admitted that previous to June 13, 1995, he had never gone into a dwelling house without permission. Tate was concerned about James videotaping people's private property and asked him if "any of that had anything to do with serving an eviction notice?" "I suppose not", James replied. He didn't tell the police about taking the stove nor did he show them the video he shot. He stated that his wife sent the video to the Crown about a month ago, but that he never went over the video with the police. James said that he didn't videotape a man on a hill in a tent because he didn't think it was significant. Tate asked him if anyone had told him to stay away from that hill because the man was fasting there, but James replied no. He finally admitted that in all the time he lived near natives, he had never sat with an elder and discussed their traditions. Towards the end of the day, Jonesy (Wolverine) was sleeping in his chair for the first time since the trial began. It was indicative of the rather non-eventful testimony given today, especially the reiteration of the same incidents without much new information. After court, Jonesy commented that when the notorious stove "incident" was discussed countless times, he thought this trial would go down in history as the "Holy Smokes case". Similarly, when the door removal "incident" was raised again, he was certain this would be "an open and shut case." Ten months of jail have not affected Wolverine's humour.

   * Day 10: Monday, July 22                * Day 13: Thursday, July 25
   * Day 11: Tuesday, July 23               * Day 14: Friday, July 26 
   * Day 12: Wednesday, July 24