Trial, Week 9: Summary - September 19


WEEK 9: SEPTEMBER 16 - 20, 1996

   * Day 39: Monday, September 16            * Day 42: Thursday, September 19
   * Day 40: Tuesday, September 17           * Day 43: Friday, September 20
   * Day 41: Wednesday, September 18


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

Without jury.

LB - Has list of witnesses for next couple of days. Defense has told him it's far too ambitious. Needs some direction.

MA - agrees that Crown's list is too ambitious. Regarding Friday's plans for funeral time, he says that either they sit all day or not at all.

J - would like to sit in afternoon and go to services in the morning.

ST - agrees he would still like to sit in afternoon.

HR - agrees with ST.

LB - is trying to schedule who is going to be needed in upcoming days. Defense and Crown work out schedule.

GW - needs to have video cued up by sheriff during his cross-examination. Also says that JoJo is over in pre-trial and would like to have him brought over here during the morning break. J grants a "spring order" to bring him over here.

Cst. Steve Arthur (SA) and jury in.

GW - Re: shooting the dog. SA agrees that he didn't know that Debolt was going to take a shot. Debolt was closer to the truck and the dog than SA was. After the first shot, SA looked over and this is when he saw the dog. GW suggests that Debolt shot and missed the dog and hit the Bison. SA says that Debolt hit the dog in the side because it yelped. Agrees that he doesn't know if the bullet passed through the dog and then put a dent in the Bison. He doesn't know how Debolt was lined up with reference to the Bison. SA thinks Debolt would be cautious of his shot. Believes that the Bison was parked on Percy's lease property. Debolt then told him to take out the dog. He assumes Debolt said this because the dog was injured and still running at him. He agrees that he doesn't know where the bullets went after going through the dog, but doesn't think they hit the Bison. Can't say for sure where they ended up.

There was no discussion what to do with the dog. No investigator asked to look at their rifles to compare bullets in the dog to their rifle. They didn't bring it up with Command, but he did note it in his reports. He doesn't know why Debolt fired, but he says he did it because he was immediately concerned about his safety - not the public reaction. Agrees that there was no report in the media despite a huge media group waiting just up the road including CNN, CBC, etc. He agrees that the media were fed information by Sgt Montague. He never heard Montague ever tell media that an officer killed a dog. That night, they didn't watch TV - they slept because they were very tired.

Following explosion, Mercer and his dog picked up the track. He didn't see occupants leave the truck with their weapons. Agrees it would be untrue to say that occupants left the truck with weapons. He was never questioned by Montague about the incident. He never saw Montague on TV describing the incident, but did see Dosanjh. Can't recall if Dosanjh said people left the truck with weapons.

When he saw persons in the lake, he knew they were the occupants from the truck. He is satisfied that occupants did not fire at him or team at this time.

Some time later, Red Bison was going down Lakeshore Road. He says that before this time, someone was firing at his team. He doesn't remember the Bison coming up and shots being fired from it. He didn't see Cpl. Preston coming out of the hatch and firing his M-16. He did see swimmers stand up and put their hands up. He shows Bison location on large aerial photo and his own location on east side of lake. Agrees that the distance between the two points is so great that he couldn't see if there was anyone standing out of the hatch. Agrees he's straining his eyes to see this. He agrees that he can't see whether or not the swimmers were male or female - only that they were Caucasian and Native. Agrees that there is a great deal of confusion and traffic on the radio.

Says that there is quite a few officers around the lake. Vancouver HQ ERT was at ambush site, where data sheet was laid, along with Nelson ERT. There was an observation post at the "Perch". There was another team on the northwest end of lake and teams spread to the north. Figures about 70 officers were in the area. Agrees that when the shooting stops, everyone is on alert. The radio then became jammed up because Command was also on the air.

Explains that cover fire is used to provide safety to other members. Says that when they were asked for cover fire, they were told there was a sniper position 75 yards west of the Bisons, so they fired in that area. Agrees that he was firing with the hope the bullet would land in the general 75 yard area. Says that in this situation, it was very stressful. He's firing because someone in Red Bison needed cover fire. He says he could see the Bison nose in the bush some distance away. He doesn't think it's possible that he only thought he saw the Bison. On this occasion, he fired 30-40 rounds and doesn't know exactly where they landed. Doesn't know where they may have ricocheted. Agrees that if he hit a rock, it could have gone off on another angle. Says he was one person of seven or eight that were providing covering fire. Agrees that it was very loud and that there was an echo too.

Knows that when he was pulling his trigger, he couldn't tell what people on the other side of the lake were doing. He couldn't tell there were people firing at the Bison - admits he was only told this. Says the only people that can see out of the Bison is the driver. When they weren't firing, he could hear shots on the north side of the lake. Can't say whether or not these shots were from the camp or from the RCMP. Says the cover fire they provided was sporadic and says it lasted five or ten minutes. Agrees that the time doing this is hard to pinpoint, but says it was more than three minutes, but could have been as long as half an hour. The other team members were taking the same amount of time. He doesn't think these shots hit the Bison because they put a buffer between it and the target, but agrees that this was a concern. He is aware of the term friendly fire, but isn't aware of it ever occurring before in an ERT operation. Isn't sure if shots were also coming from the Perch because it was so noisy. Normally on a quiet day, a shot from the Perch would be identifiable. Agrees that being on the front line, he didn't know personally where shots were coming from.

Says the Caucasian swimmer crawled from one hole to another. On aerial photo, he points to grassy area, north of point by the shore and west of eastern fenceline. Agrees that he was shooting at a person crawling within the fenceline. SA never saw the no-shoot zone map that had been shown to the camp occupants. He says he can't recall being told that members in camp had been told that they would be safe in the no-go zone. He did not know what the perimeters of the zone was, though he was told in a briefing. He only knows that his location on the road was close to the zone. GW shows SA a letter by Supt. Hall on RCMP letterhead which provides the perimeter. GW reads: "The people of Gustafsen Lake are guaranteed safety if they stay within the perimeter of boundaries established...on accompanied map." SA says he has never seen this map before.

He had read in the newspaper that Dosanjh said that the people went outside of the no-go zone and they knew it. RCMP Command never told him of boundaries of no-go zone. Agrees that the most important person to know this information would be the front line troops. Agrees it would be pointless to have a zone if front line troops are unaware of it.

GW suggests that he was shooting to kill. SA: "No." Says that at that distance, he could only tell that there was a person. He agrees that at that distance a shot could be off by a few feet. Doesn't think it would kill the person because the velocity would drop off at this point. Agrees that bullet would puncture skin. Agrees that it would go through an eye. Agrees that a shot through the eye would kill the person. Denies that he didn't care about the person's life - he was told person was carrying a shoulder holster and firing at members. He never went to person who told him this with concerns about shooting someone in a no-go zone. Agrees that he was under fear and stress at time. Says he was more concerned about harm to members in APC than about Caucasian person.

GW wonders what kind of damage a 9mm handgun could do to an APC. SA says that if there were people exposed, there could be danger. The tires could also be shot out. Denies that under stress, he was just firing at anyone he could see. Ray Watson told him of person wearing shoulder holster, but can't remember who told him this person was firing.

MA passes around a note that Wolverine's application to fix an early hearing date for his Habeas Corpus Appeal (for bail) has been set for tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 20, 1996 at 9:30 a.m. at the Court of Appeal on 800 Smyth St. in Vancouver.

MB/ Without jury.

MA wants Ray Watson's notes, who is not on the witness list. MA reminds J that this is the person who reported Caucasian with a shoulder holster. Would like this by noon so it will assist in cross-examination. LB doesn't see relevance and isn't even sure that these notes exist. J asks if cross can be done without notes and witness can be brought back. MA doesn't want to break up testimony and says that if all police notes were made available as he has asked, this wouldn't come up each time. MA would like an order to hand all notes over. J says this isn't necessary and will only ask the Crown to try their best.

GW asks that OJ be excused because he is sick. Also notes that JoJo is sick too. He will continue in their absence.

Jury in. J says that he has been told that jury member has hurt his head and appreciates him carrying on. Also tells them that they won't be sitting tomorrow morning because of funeral services.

GW cont'd with Cst. Arthur - SA agrees that a shoulder holster does not carry a weapon on a person's back. Also agrees that a small backpack is worn on the back, but says he definitely heard that the person carried shoulder holster.

Watson was in Nelson ERT team and with SA. He was using binoculars, which he believes were personal issue - meaning he could have bought them and had the RCMP pay for them. Says the same could be done for personal issue shooting gloves.

SA fired weapons and then the Caucasian person got up vertically straight and "lumbered into the bush". Person was alone. Says he would be surprised to see two people on video. Says that second person he didn't see could be caused by stress or by tunnel vision.

Confirms that he was shooting because this person was a threat. Says he wasn't trying to kill person, but agrees that death was possible. Agrees that as an RCMP officer, he is trained to get over hurdle of killing a person. Says there isn't specific training to get over this - says that he just knows this when you're training with a gun. Agrees that he was trying to kill the dog. Denies that he was trying to kill the person - "I was just trying to prevent harm to myself and other members."

GW puts on video. Red truck is exploded. SA says that he and Debolt were 25 feet away from explosion. Says that he was in ditch on west side of road. Tons of smoke. SA sees dog moving on road in circles looking confused. SA says that he didn't see dog at this point. He agrees that he is surprised to see the dog there. Then he sees the APC hitting the truck. He believed that APC was at Percy's lease driveway. Now the dog starts running down the road. SA agrees that human observation is fallible. He agrees that what he recalled of incident and what he saw on video are slightly different. Says figure on screen is Sgt. Debolt or that it might be himself. Dog is killed and spills to side of road. Now thinks the figure in the road might be him, and Debolt is ahead at side of road. SA thinks that trajectory still wouldn't hit the APC. He leaves the dog there and was not concerned with it any longer. Agrees that at time dog was killed, it was no longer trying to attack them.

Video fast forwarded. Blue car is seen on other side of lake. SA didn't see this car though he heard on radio that shots were coming from car. Bison seen still parked at crossroads of Lakeshore Road and 1000 Road at same time as blue car is on other side of lake. Fast forwarded again. Bison seen coming down Lakeshore Road and blue car leaving area in opposite area. GW stops video on image of water where there are disturbances. SA doesn't remember seeing ducks in the water. MA whispers they're fish. GW: "No, they're not fish." Bison seen on road now turning from water and heading into trees.

Video ends and another video is inserted. SA says the radio was chaotic when the APC became stuck. Second video played. Bison seen going around red truck. GW wants him to show jury on monitor where track ended. GW: "Just come here and give us the finger (snickers), oh, sorry, I didn't mean that." Jury smiling. SA points out where track came out at lake and then where they moved to a higher elevation, five to seven minute walk away.

Bison seen moving just as blue car is seen moving eastward too. SA says that the Bison didn't start moving until team made it to end of track and they called it in. Blue car seen and then a person gets out and sits on hood. GW suggests that through deduction, the person is waiting for someone. SA agrees that this might be the case as person is sitting on the hood. SA says it appears as if these people are armed. GW says he might think so too. Sees that the person has put what appears to be a rifle on the hood of the car. SA says he never saw this car from his position. Person seen pacing around at front of car. Person is wearing a white shirt. Person still seen waiting at front of car.

Now Bison seen moving along Lakeshore Road. SA agrees that Mercer, standing near him, called in Bison. Now blue car is seen moving when "look, here comes the APC." Bison is seen stopped for a second by waterfront and then heads north into bush. SA understands that the reason it started moving was because of shots. SA says that there was gunfire heard when the APC approached the lake. GW suggests that these shots came from the APC firing at the swimmers. SA can't be sure where the shots came from. Doesn't know if APC turned around first and then persons put hands down, or if they put hands down first, and then the Bison drove off. Says it appeared as if the swimmers were waving.

When Bison went into bushline, SA says he could still see it. Bison seen stopped in small clearing with woods between it and lake. SA agrees that he couldn't see APC at this point. Close-up shots of lakeshore. Caucasian seen swimming.

L/ GW cont'd with Cst. Arthur. Video played on. SA confirms that he knew two people were in the water. On video, two people also seen by water's edge. One person comes out of lake east of the fence. Other person moves along water and comes out by fence and crawls under it. This is the Caucasian person. Says that person he shot at had come out of a foxhole. GW suggests that gophers have dug out area around fence. SA agrees that it looks natural. Native person also makes it to fence and crawls under. Two people appear to be walking up towards camp. SA suspects that he was shooting a little later than at this point. Agrees that he was told that this person had a holster.

Says that if the second person was there, he didn't see that person. Agrees that under normal conditions, he would think that he'd be able to see two people. Two people are seen walking in a hunched-over position. SA says it looks like they are ducking or trying to avoid something. Caucasian person appears to have something on its back. It could be a packsack. GW suggests that it could a brassiere. SA says it's difficult to say. He had heard later that the person that got a bullet in her arm was a woman. GW suggests that in the summer, women often wear a sports bra. SA agrees that if the person was a female, it's possible she was wearing a brassiere. SA: "Not all females wear bras." SA agrees that this person was not pointing a weapon at him. Says he was told person was firing.

At no time during this video did he see this person extend an arm (as if pointing a pistol), nor did he see any other weapon pointed at the Bison. Agrees that it's possible for people to make a mistake in the field. Agrees that when he was told that a person was firing at the Bison, he believed it. Also agrees that at the time, there was confusion. He never saw blond person point a rifle at anyone. He doesn't know if the blond person was the passenger or the driver of the truck. Regarding his testimony that this person was 75 yards away from the Bison, SA agrees that this was his estimation at the time from the other side of the lake. He confirms to the jury that the sniper position he was told of over the radio was from the treeline. GW wants to eliminate this blond person as the suspected sniper. SA agrees this person was not the sniper.

Agrees that a .223 bullet being fired at a person would cause some pain. GW shows Suniva's arm to jury. SA agrees that a person being hit would be in pain for the rest of the day and would have a hard time holding a rifle up.

Video continued. Bison still sitting in same place as before in clearing. Woods still between Bison and water. GW suggests that SA could not see the Bison from his location and that he fired his weapon without actually being able to see the Bison. SA reminds GW that team had shifted positions to get a better view. GW says that this video doesn't show a Bison chasing people around the bush. Regardless, SA says he thinks this is how the Bison got stuck. SA agrees that there was a concern that some of his bullets might hit the Bison. Agrees that people inside the Bison wouldn't know whose bullets were hitting the APC.

Video played. Two persons no longer around by fenceline. At camp, no one is seen in round dugout. Sees there are a couple of people by the camp. SA agrees that from distance, you can't see any weapons. He also agrees that no one can be identified. SA agrees that any of the 18 accused sitting here could have been in the camp while the police were firing. The best he can say is that during that day, all he can say is there was a single sniper in the bushline.

Video rolls forward. A person is seen walking. SA agrees that the person is walking away from the scene of RCMP shooting. Person is walking upright and is not in an offensive posture as you might expect if person was carrying a weapon. Person continues to cross open ground in clearing. Bison still in open clearing. Another Bison is spotted. GW: "And you know who is in this Bison? It's Cst. Ray Wilby to the rescue." He doesn't know this, but agrees that a Bison did come to assist.

Agrees that up to this point, no RCMP member had been shot. He nor his team had ever spotted a single shooter. Says that members at far side of lake reported a shooter and assumes this refers to person in blue car. Second APC overshoots road to stuck Bison and SA says it appears that it couldn't see the stuck one. SA remembers hearing some radio messages during this including a suggestion by Insp. Kembel to have the rescue APC drive in front of the stuck one to draw fire. SA agrees that the foliage conditions there at that time would be the same as now. Agrees that during this time, he and team are providing cover fire, but he understood that the members were down. Agrees again that there was a possibility that some of his bullets could have hit the APC, even though they were trying to avoid that. SA says that these Bisons would have had their engines running and that it's quite loud inside. They're like trucks and have diesel engines.

Video plays on. Rescue Bison is seen backing up to stuck one. SA doesn't know where other Bisons are at this time. Two people are seen moving on the roadway towards the Bison area. GW suggests that one of them is on a bicycle. The two stop and move off the road into the bush. SA agrees that the shooting has stopped or slowed down to a degree at this point. GW suggests that the two people are moving in a way similar to that of people going to find out what all the shooting is about. SA can't assume what they were doing, but agrees that they appear young and agile.

Without jury.

LB - says that Crown Counsel in Abbotsford has informed him that JoJo is "certifiable" under the Fitness Act and wonders if he is fit enough to instruct GW. GW says he has faxed a letter to Crown in Chilliwack and says that he's not satisfied whether or not JoJo's certifiable. He wants Defense to look into this.

Wolverine - says that they should look into the type of medication that JoJo was getting when he was in Kamloops Correctional Services to spin him out and make him want to commit suicide. What is going on when the Crown knows that it has no evidence on JoJo and they still hold him. This has to be looked at seriously by the Crown because these are the kinds of things that have been brought up at the U.N. about genocide. The genocide has to stop here. We are protected by Constitutional law and we continue to be persecuted. Provincial law can't touch Constitutional law. One day this will all have to come out.

J wonders if GW has seen the letter sent to the Crown. GW hasn't, so J stands down until he has a chance to read it.

J back.

GW - says there is nothing in the letter to indicate that a determination of fitness has been made. Says there is nothing that should disrupt this trial. He has spoken to JoJo and he seems clear.

LB - says that there is an outstanding issue here and wonders how someone that has been committed under the Provincial Health Act could give instructions to GW.

Wolverine - says it's time for someone from the international human rights community. This has been going on long enough. A human rights person should be brought in.

J says they will start tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.

Jury back in.

Video rolling again at 3:20 p.m. Bisons together in clearing. Third Bison arrives on scene. SA says that he remembers that Kembel had instructed a Bison to drive across the front of the lake to draw fire while the rescue was initiated. Smoke grenades are thrown. Says that these burn pretty quickly and a forest fire was not a real concern that day. Agrees that he can hear Bison commanders on the radio. Had heard of sniper on radio at this point. When smoke is billowing, he and team are laying down fire 75 yards away from Bisons. They are aiming at a vicinity. Agrees that it is as difficult to see out of the smoke as it is to see in. SA wonders if that is another Bison there. GW: "Yeah, I think it snuck in under the smoke." SA not aware that this Bison moved from west to east nor that it was firing on the move. This last Bison also has its top hatches open. The third didn't. During this time, SA is aware that there are four Bisons there.

He says that during this time, SA heard a loud cheer. Says that a helicopter pilot suggested that perhaps an officer had gone down. GW says that if there are people in the camp cheering, then they had to be in the camp and not shooting at APCs. SA says that he isn't sure if cheer came from camp or from camp side. SA agrees that there is no line of fire possible from the camp. SA now remembers that the cheering actually occurred when the red APC first became incapacitated, not when the other APCs came to the rescue.

Close-up of camp area again. No one in round pit again - 3:40 p.m. now. SA confirms that two Bisons have their hatches open. Says that the whole day seemed to be full of gunfire. He heard later that each Bison fired off a thousand rounds - which is up and above all the rounds fired by ground troops. He could hear Eye in the Sky talking, but he never spoke directly to them himself. GW asks if this is probably the first time this technology has been used by the RCMP. SA says that he would be surprised if they didn't also use it at Oka.

The camera searches in a futile effort for any movement on the ground. It finds none. SA agrees that he never heard Eye in the Sky identify anyone on the ground. SA says he sees a person on the lakeshore. Or something that looks like a person. Not clear. SA doesn't remember seeing anyone there at the time. People are seen in the hatches of the Bisons which have moved northwest into a diamond pattern. He wasn't aware that there were people firing from out of the hatches. All he knew was that a recovery was taking place. The same person as previously spotted by the lakeshore is seen again.

Back at the camp, there are about three people walking around in an upright manner. SA says he sees a person with a weapon pointed upwards.

When GW asks if he ever heard any gunfire from the camp, SA says he only heard that there was a sniper position 75 yards away at two o'clock. SA admits this would mean a position northeast of the Bisons. The camp is northwest.

Back at the camp, more people are seen walking upright.

J tells jury that they're not needed tomorrow until 1:30 p.m.

   * Day 39: Monday, September 16            * Day 42: Thursday, September 19
   * Day 40: Tuesday, September 17           * Day 43: Friday, September 20
   * Day 41: Wednesday, September 18