Information Bulletin for The Trials of May 27th to 29th

On May 27th 2002, nine people had trial dates. Three people took the crown offer and pleaded guilty and paid 150$ in exchange for an unconditional discharge, one trial was postponed while five people decide to go ahead with the trial and prove their innocence. The following is a brief summary of the five trials.

Dave O.
Dave was, during the summit, one of only eight independent media persons who was actually accredited as official media for the Summit. This meant that he could enter inside the perimeter as he wished. On Saturday April 21st, Dave was arrested for the simple reason that he wanted to find out why a man a few meters from him was being assaulted by three police officers. After taking a few steps in the direction of this event, Dave was himself grabbed violently by police and thrown into jail despite the fact that he repeatedly informed them that he was media. Later on, Dave was informed that he was charged with wearing illegal clothing (a mask), which was latter changed to the charge of obstruction. During the trial, it was fairly obvious that Dave had done nothing wrong. And, if the facts weren't enough, the two officers who testified against Dave repeatedly contradicted each other. Ironically enough, the crown prosecutor tried to get Dave convicted on the basis that he had no credibility. This did not work and Dave was acquitted.

Aaron D.

On Saturday afternoon, Aaron was sitting down holding up peace signs about a hundred meters from the perimeter with his back to the police lines. Everything was peaceful when six police officers unexpectedly broke formation and charged after him and tackled him. There was no warning for him to disperse and his arrest came as quite a surprise. Aaron was charged with obstruction. The Lawyer argued, based on many previous cases, that sitting down and holding up peace signs does not constitute an obstruction. However, the judge chose to ignore this fact and found Aaron guilty and sentenced him to a conditional discharge of one year good conduct.

Rachelle M.

Rachelle was dancing close to the perimeter when a line of police came from behind moving towards the perimeter trying to push people to the sides. Rachelle seeing the police advancing, moved to the side of the street and mixed with a group of reporters who were standing beside a Global TV van. After the line had passed, a police officer broke from the line and came towards were she was standing. He verified the other people's media credentials and when he saw that she was not media, he grabbed her and threw her to the ground, tore of the gas mask she was wearing for protection and then arrested her. Rachelle offered no resistance, and even, while being arrested, she told the police officer that she loved him and forgave him. She was charged with obstruction. Even from the testimony of the police, it was obvious that Rachelle had done nothing wrong, and again, how can a person who is acting so passively be committing an obstruction which is defined as an overt action disrupting police work. During the trial, the arresting officer was totally demolished by the Lawyer's interrogation. He asked the policeman why he had thrown Rachell to the ground and the policeman responded by stating that he did not know Rachell and therefore did not know if she was dangerous or not (hope you don't meet this officer on the street, he might throw you on the ground because he doesn't know you!!!) The best part was when the Lawyer asked the policeman why he had ripped of her gas mask : the policeman said that it was to help her breath. The lawyer then asked him why he was wearing a gas mask. He responded that it was to protect himself from the tear gas. Obviously he thought that Rachell could breath better while inhaling massive amounts of tear gas. To everyone's great surprise, Rachell was found guilty by the judge who stated in his sentencing that she was a "fantaisiste" ( basically a crazy person in French). She was given an unconditional discharge which amounts to the same as being acquitted the only difference being that the state is considered to have been justified in arresting Rachell.

Robert S.

Robert had come to the summit with the specific intent of staying away from hot spots and sticking to the green zones in order not to be arrested. During the weekend, he found himself close to an area where police were resting and eating. He approached one of the policeman to ask him were he could find a restroom. The policeman answered by grabbing him by the arm and telling him that he was under arrest for illegal assembly. Apparently, the nearest restroom was in Orsainville prison. Robert was found guilty and sentenced to a conditional discharge of one year good conduct .

Peter R.

Peter was arrested on Saturday and charged with obstruction. Although Peter had decided not to take the crown "bribe" and to go to trial, he ended up not having a trial at all. When it came time for his trial, after three days of waiting, the crown asked the judge to postpone the trial to a latter date because the policeman could not be there to testify that day. The lawyer made a motion to dismiss the charges on the basis that Reuben had to miss days of work every time he had to go to Quebec (Peter lives in Montreal). The Judge accepted to dismiss the charges and Peter was acquitted.

General Summary of events and other news

Up till now we have had a different judges for every week of trials, and, up till now, almost all of the judges have been extremely biased towards the accused often disregarding their testimonies and even sometimes evidence directly pointing to their innocence. This week was no exception to the norm. One blatant example of bias was the difference between how Dave and the others such as Aaron were treated. The difference in the evidence was not all that different but Dave got acquitted and Aaron did not. The main difference was that Dave was considered by the judge as a "productive member of society" who had a "legitimate reason" for being in Quebec while Aaron does not have job and is presently homeless and travelling through Canada. The Legal collective has, for the past year concentrated on preparing peoples cases and assuring that people are aware of how their cases are going and ready for trial, basically, all the legal paper work, research and outreach work. Seeing as the judges are being so biased, it seems crucial to mobilize as much as possible to bring attention to the trials and awaken people to the fact that these are not ordinary trials but very political trials in which the state is continuing the repression it had enacted in the streets of Quebec during the 2001 Summit of the Americas. In order to do this we need help because we are presently only enough volunteers to sustain the work being done in the office. One idea that was put forward would be to create a sub group which would concentrate mainly on political work. Also to facilitate support during the trials the website is being remade and trial dates will be posted so that people can give their support inside and outside the courthouse. In the meantime, you can go visit the COBP (Collective Opposed to Police Brutality) website for trial dates and times.The website address is