Jul 4/97: Ipperwash-Justice not served-Kenneth Deane sentenced



London Free Press
July 4, 1997
Julie Carl - Sarnia Bureau

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. It may contain biased and distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context.]

SARNIA -- Cries of "murderer, murderer" filled a courtroom here as a judge sentenced an OPP officer to a sentence of two years less a day, to be served in the community, for the shooting death of a native protester.

"It's still murder. He's still a murderer," called out Cathryn George, a cousin of Dudley George, the native protester shot by OPP acting Sgt. Kenneth Deane outside Ipperwash Provincial Park on Sept. 6, 1995.

Deane was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death in April.

Others in the courtroom called out, "murderer," and "he can rot in hell," just after Judge Hugh Fraser of Ontario court, provincial division, adjourned court.

Deane's conditional sentence means he will not go to prison. He is to perform 180 hours of community service and cannot carry a gun during the sentence. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Fraser said of the 85 criminal negligence causing death cases he studied in reaching his verdict, he could find none which paralleled this one.

"The word unique was used several times by counsel. In my opinion, it cannot be used too often in this case," he said.

Fraser told Deane he could likely be the only person to be given a conditional sentence on a criminal negligence causing death conviction because a new statute dictates the charge now carries a minimum four-year prison term. If Deane had committed his crime four months later, a conditional sentence would have been an impossibility.


Crown attorney Ian Scott had asked for a substantial penitentiary term and a 10-year prohibition on carrying firearms. Fraser imposed no firearm ban to follow Deane's sentence, saying a 12-year ban for a police officer "would be excessive."

Scott told reporters he will discuss with his superiors whether to appeal the sentence.

"This was a very unique fact situation, but I did think that a conditional sentence in the circumstances was not proportionate to the gravity of the offence because a death was caused by the actions of Sgt. Deane," Scott said outside court.

OPP Insp. Michael Shard of the force's Professional Standards Bureau said Deane has been relieved of operations responsibilities and assigned to administrative duties. Shard said Deane's appeal of his conviction and his 15-year exemplary record were factors the OPP weighed in making the decision.

Deane may also face Police Services Act charges and penalties up to dismissal from the force.


Some of George's family members sobbed as they spoke outside court of their disappointment at the sentence.

"My brother's life comes so cheap to these people," said Dudley George's brother Pierre George.

"And all native people. It just proves that native people have no rights," added his sister Carolyn George.

As the George family spoke, some native youth played a large drum outside the courthouse. Later, some George family members and supporters took part in a smudging ceremony -- a purification ritual.

"This has just been a big farce all along, this whole courtroom thing. What justice has been served? It's okay to go out and kill natives? Is that what the courts are saying? It's alright to go kill a native because you won't end up in jail for it," Carolyn George said.

Pierre George called the sentence ridiculous but said it is what native people have come to expect from white society. "This is the justice system working out just as it always has since they came here, since the newcomers came here."

"This is the rewards of sharing, of trying to co-exist peacefully. My brother gets laid in his grave and this guy gets sent home for jail. That's real justice?"George said.

Pam George, another sister, says while she would never express her disgust with violence others might. Deane's "going to have to be looking over his shoulder. He isn't going to know whether anyone's going to be after him or not."

Deane is appealing the criminal negligence conviction but was pleased with the sentence, defence lawyer Norm Peel said.

"It's reaffirming to us that there is fair process. There's no elation, there's no joy. The train's just coming back on track."

Deane was part of an eight-member tactics and rescue unit guarding 32 OPP officers in riot gear who confronted about 24 native protesters at Ipperwash park on Sept. 6, 1995. Two days before, natives walked into the park as it was closing for the season to protest that the province desecrated a native burial ground when the park was developed in 1938. After police and protesters clashed outside the park, Deane shot George with his semi-automatic rifle because, Deane said, he saw George aiming a gun at police officers.


In April, Fraser ruled Deane knowingly shot an unarmed man and concocted a coverup story. He also ruled two other officers fabricated evidence. On Thursday, Fraser said "because of his intense pride and abilities as a TRU officer (Deane) found it impossible to admit he shot an unarmed man."

Fraser said he had heard evidence Deane has no criminal record, is a devoted son and brother and a dedicated police officer. Another important factor Fraser weighed was the information that the natives were armed which was given to Deane and other TRU officers as they prepared for the confrontation. Fraser found the natives were not armed that night.

"It is not for this tribunal to decide where that intelligence came from or why it was so inaccurate," he said. He also questioned the decision to send heavily armed police to confront the protesters but said: "The decision to embark on this ill-fated decision was not Sgt. Deane's."

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