May 7/97: Stoney Point trial - teen hoped to stop beating


The youth 'needed the protection of the bus' as he tried to break through a police line to come to the aid of a native protester, court was told in closing arguments

London Free Press
May 7, 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 -- A youth charged with driving a school bus at police outside Ipperwash Provincial Park was using the bus for protection as he tried to stop police beating a man, the youth's lawyer said Tuesday.

In order to do what the youth "had every right to do (stop a crime), he needed the protection of the bus," Jeffrey House said in his closing arguments in youth court here.

"What force was required to ensure Bernard George did not die?...Given you have a line of police officers between my client and the ongoing beating, no less force would have been sufficient."

The defendant, who is now an adult, was a youth at the time of the alleged offence and cannot be named under the Young Offenders Act.

He was among natives who entered Ipperwash Provincial Park Sept. 4, 1995, as it closed for the season, claiming a burial ground had been desecrated when the park was developed.

Two days after the occupation, heavily armed police marched on the protesters and fought with them just outside the park. During the clash, Bernard George, a Kettle and Stoney Point band councillor, who testified he was there to try to talk police out of attacking the protesters, was badly beaten and kicked by police.

In summing up the evidence, House said that police grabbed George, called him a savage, kicked and beat him and dragged him by his hair until he lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness, the beating continued as they dragged him away from the area, House said.

The youth testified he drove the bus out of the park to save George. The youth is charged with dangerous driving and assault with a weapon -- the bus.

House said no police officers were struck by the bus, which he credited to his client's "pretty good" driving. One officer testified his teeth were chipped by something which could have been a stone thrown by the bus or by a bullet when the police opened fire on the bus. House said even if the injury was caused by the bus, it was not intentional.

Assistant Crown attorney Henry Van Drunen said the youth did not intend to save George. Van Drunen said if that had been the case, he would have had someone else on the bus to help with the rescue. Evidence was that only the youth's young cousin and his dog were on the bus with him.

"The accused simply got in the bus and drove at the line of police officers," Van Drunen said.

He said the youth had no intention of stopping if police were in the way and police were not hit only because they dived out of the way. Van Drunen said the youth's use of the bus was "force, excessive in the extreme."

Judge A.M. Graham said he would reserve his judgment to May 26, but he may not render a verdict then.

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