Yesterday was the sentencing hearing for Warren George of Stoney Point. Unlike the reading of his verdict, Warren was given the smallest room in the courthouse for his sentincing, so very few of the approximately 100 supporters present were able to actually hear the judge's sentence. Warren's closest family were all in the courtroom to hear what the judge had to say. Several people from Stoney Point, other territories and "urban" supporters from, London, Peterborough, Toronto, Kitchener, Guelph (and propably other cities) remained outside playing music, and holding signs and placards waited outside the courtroom for the full THREE HOURS it took the judge to complete his sentincing.
The following is an article written by one of the three of four reporters allowed into the courtroom, with editorial comment from Anti-Racist Action in [brackets]. Of the media allowed in, there was one woman who was a one time "historical researcher" for ON F.I.R.E. and the London Free Press reporter who has covered the Stoney Point trials since Julie Carl was removed from her Sarnia beat when the Sun chain took over the London Free Press. Julie Carl's covereage of the trials had come to be quite sympathetic to the Stoney Pointers, yet she was pulled in the middle of Warren's trial.
SARNIA -- Natives and supporters complained bitterly Friday after Warren George, 25, was sentenced to six months in jail on driving offences in a 1995 clash between police and protesters outside Ipperwash Provincial Park.
"It's a great injustice," Cathryn George, his aunt, said, as placard-carrying supporters milled outside court. "Don't talk to me about respect for the law."
Minutes earlier, Judge Greg Pockele of Ontario Court, provincial division, dismissed appeals not to send Warren George to jail but allow him to serve his sentence in the community.
Arguing for a nine- to 12-month conditional sentence, defence lawyer Jeff House said some people might be "inflamed" if George was given a "crushing sentence."
Prosecutor Henry Van Druden asked the judge to impose a jail sentence of up to 18 months.
In his ruling, Pockele said George's actions in driving a car into a group of riot-control Ontario Provincial Police were too serious to be considered for a conditional sentence.
The judge said his sentence was intended as a deterrent to others and a denunciation of George's behavior.
Pockele said he also questioned whether George had real remorse for his actions or any respect for law.
George, he said, had become part of "escalating violence against police" on Sept. 6, 1995, when Dudley George, one of the protesters, was shot and killed by police.
As police started to lead George off to jail, a woman identified as his stepmother jumped forward, screaming, "you're not taking him. He didn't kill anybody."
After additional police officers were called, George was taken away and the crying woman soothed. She refused to speak later to reporters.
House said a team of lawyers, led by Mike Code, will also apply for a bail hearing for George, pending the appeal. He said it's likely a hearing wouldn't be held before next Wednesday.
House said the Ipperwash standoff is "crying out for a judicial inquiry. It's time one was called."
George was sentenced Friday on convictions in February for criminal negligence causing bodily harm and assault with a car, his car.
The judge had stayed action on a third conviction of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
The turmoil at Ipperwash came two days after protesters occupied the park, arguing they were reclaiming land where a burial ground had been desecrated.
Dudley George was shot and killed shortly after police in riot gear moved to clear a parking lot at one of the park's gates.
Rocks, stones and flaming sticks were thrown at police before Warren George drove his car into the parking lot where other protesters were fighting with officers.
George's car hit five officers. One officer was hurt.
[ARA NOTE: Totally white washed version... the only reason the Warren ended up hitting police officers was because he had to swerve out of the way to avoid being shot at. As he was driving straight, an officer appeared in front of him and raised his firearm straight at Warren. So, Warren swerved to the right and braked to avoid being hit. That's when he accidentally hit some officers, and one wound up with a sparained ankle and "post-traumatic stress".]
OPP Acting Sgt. Kenneth Deane was later convicted of criminal negligence causing Dudley George's death. He was given a conditional sentence to be served in the community and told to do 180 hours of community work.
Another protester, Cecil Bernard George, has filed a civil action against police, arguing he was badly beaten by officers using excessive force.
Among the protesters outside court Friday, he said Warren George was trying to save him from a beating when he drove his car at police.
"It's unjust. The police should apologize for what they did to us, our people, our country," he said.
Rim Rhude, Warren George's mother, called the sentencing "unfair" while his sister, Leanne George, said it was "totally unbelievable."
For Cathryn George, her nephew's actions were justified as "defending the land and graves of our ancestors."
In his ruling, the judge also banned George from driving for two years and prohibited him from having firearms for 10 years.
Anti-Racist Action (Toronto)
P.O. Box 291, Station B
Toronto, ON, M5T 2T2 Canada
by phone: (416) 631-8835