Wet’suwet’en water protectors in court on March 14 to hear if CGL will pursue criminal charges
Last week, Gidimt’en Checkpoint noted: “Over thirty water protectors are appearing in BC Supreme Court in Prince George on Monday February 14 after the RCMP invasion on Wet’suwet’en territory [on November 18 and 19] 2021.”
In this video update, Gidimt’en land defender Sleydo’ reports:
“Today we were supposed to be able to find out whether or not CGL was pursuing criminal charges against all the land defenders.
Everybody was charged was civil contempt of the court order by Justice Church that we could be blocking CGL on our sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory and that Wet’suwet’en laws were not upheld and do not supersede Western colonial laws.
So, CGL was supposed to say today whether or not criminal contempt would be pursued, and they asked for adjournment for a month from now.
And the reason that they are doing this is because they want all the bail conditions that everybody has to not be on the yintah and not be able to engage and support, they are trying to prevent everybody from being on the territory.
There’s 30 people that now have bail conditions saying they cannot and are not allowed to be on our territory even though they are invited guests, they are family members, they are part of our community and have every right to be on our yintah. It’s according to Wet’suwet’en law who gets to be there and who doesn’t get to be there and CGL and the courts are making that determination for us. And they want to hold that as long as possible to prevent any sort of resistance from happening out on the territory.
So, they’ve asked for an adjournment. The courts have advised CGL that they have to provide the disclosure evidence against us to our lawyers by March 7.
And by March 11, CGL needs to come forward to our lawyers and to the court and to say whether or not they are going to ask the Attorney General to get involved in the proceedings and pursue criminal charges against us.
And so, on March 14 there will be the next court date where they will set more dates in order to determine whether or not that’s going to go forward or not.”
Additionally, the Tyee reports on this hearing at RCMP Error Delays Court Hearing for Pipeline Protesters.
That article notes: “Injunction violations fall under civil law and would require Coastal GasLink to pursue a lawsuit against the land defenders independently. But the company could ask B.C.’s attorney general to press criminal charges, which would transfer responsibility to the BC Prosecution Service.”
“[CGL lawyer Kevin] O’Callaghan said the company is still deciding whether to seek criminal prosecution.”
“When it was suggested that proceedings be put over until May, [Wet’suwet’en lawyer Frances] Mahon pressed for an earlier appearance.”
“A brief court appearance is scheduled for March 14 to determine the date for a subsequent hearing once it’s known if Coastal GasLink will request people be charged criminally. That would require a hearing before Judge Marguerite Church, who issued the injunction to Coastal GasLink on Dec. 31, 2019.”
The Terrace Standard also reports on this at Court adjourns CGL pipeline opposition groups’ hearing to March 14.
Earlier this month, the Terrace Standard also reported that CGL expects drilling under Wedzin Kwa to begin this spring and last for two and a half to three months.
For additional updates, follow @Gidimten on Twitter.