On Wednesday March 27, the province's highest court ordered Bishop Hubert O'Connor freed on bail, pending his appeal of convictions for rape and indecent assault. O'Connor, the highest ranking member of the Roman Catholic church in Canada to be convicted of sex crimes, preyed on young aboriginal women, when he was a priest at the St. Mary's residential school near Williams Lake BC. BC Court of Appeal Justices Alan MacFarlane, Michael Goldie and Brian Carrothers gave their decision in Victoria.
"His behavior over the last 30 years has been blameless" said Justice MacFarlane. In the view of the court it was deemed not in the public interest for O'Connor to be in prison. O'Connor was sentenced to 2.5 years on September 13.
Meanwhile, both Shuswap elder Wolverine and native rights lawyer Dr. Bruce Clark have been consistently denied bail. Justice MacFarlane was one of the Justices who recently ruled against bail for Bruce Clark. Justice Goldie, a former partner of Allan McEachern at the powerful BC law firm Russel and DuMoulin, was the lead lawyer for the Province in the 1991 Delgamuukw land claims case. The trial judge was Allan McEachern. Both McEachern and Goldie were elevated to the high court bench at the trial's conclusion. Bryan Williams, the lawyer representing BC against Bruce Clark in the appeal of Delgamuukw in the Supreme Court of Canada, September 12, 1995, was made Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court.
Indigenous women have expressed shock and outrage at O'Connor's release. Proving once again that in BC it is "JUST-US" not JUSTICE that rules.