Information bulletin for the week of December 2nd
3 trials and one preliminary inquiry went ahead that week. Many cases have been postponed until January, including all of those who decided to take the deal that week. Here is a short summary:
Morgan S.: Morgan had his preliminary inquiry. Morgan is charged with uttering a death threat. The police testified that over a megaphone he said " Kill the cops " and " Revolt. " Morgan asked the police many questions trying to show that he was not acting in a threatening manner, and that he did not resist his arrest as he went limp. Unfortunately, the judge viewed his 'going limp' as resisting arrest and added this charge. Opening of the term is scheduled for January 13th. Morgan has witnesses in Victoria, Yellowknife, and Toronto, so we are looking into doing a video conference for his trial.
John V.:John was arrested for unlawful assembly. He had been on the bus and was about to transfer to another bus . He saw a crowd and because he had an hour to wait until his next bus, he was curious to see what was happening at the Parc des Ameriques. He sat down on a bench to observe the crowd. Not long after, tear gas was thrown and he ran without knowing where he was going. He ended up face to face with a police officer who arrested him. He was found guilty and given a conditional discharge with the conditions of keeping the peace for 1 year and donating $200 to CAVAC. The judge, Auger, did not find him to be credible, and told him he should not have been in the park even though he was sitting on a bench and observing what was happening.
Graham B.: Graham was charged with the summary charge of obstruction. While the police testified that Graham was arrested on Claire Fontaine, Graham stated that he was in fact arrested on Rue St Claire. He had been at a bar on Rue St. Jean and heard a rumour that the military was out on the streets assaulting people. Concerned that it was late at night and media presence was probably non-existent, he decided to take his camera and document any abuses that were occurring. After walking towards the wall, which was blocked by police lines, and not having seen any military Graham decided to head back to the bar where his hosts were staying. Walking along Rue St Claire, he noticed tear gas and put on his mask, worried that he would not be able to meet up with his friends. A line of riot cops turned the corner and began walking towards him. He signalled to them the direction he wished to go, and felt he had nothing to fear as nothing was happening in the area. As he got closer, he realised the riot cops would not let him pass. He turned around and starting walking in the opposite direction and was then arrested (around 2 am on the 22nd of April). While Auger, the judge, made it clear that he did not find Graham to be credible, he was acquitted. The fact that Graham did not speak French and attempted to communicate to the police as best he could seemed to help his case. The judge had nothing good to say in this case even though Graham had a witness and his testimony lined up well with that of the police. The judge stated that only because he had the tiniest doubt did he acquit Graham.
Lori H.: Lori went to the Summit as a journalist. On April 21st Lori approached 2 young men who were laying down on the steps of the Grand Theatre with sleeping bags. She interviewed them on video and audio tape, and talked to them about the action they were doing- a peaceful camp out in front of the police line. After the interview, the small group of people with Lori were surrounded by police and her friend Mike was arrested. Lori and the woman videotaping the interview (Michelle) went around the corner to videotape Mike's arrest and ensure his safety. The atmosphere was described by both police, Lori, and Michelle as peaceful with people mulling about and playing musical instruments. During the time of Lori's arrest, the video camera was turned off. Lori testified that Michelle was showing her how to use the camera at that time. The officer who ordered Lori's arrest was not present in court, and the two officers that testified did not offer much explanation for her arrest. The only reasoning that they could provide was that Lori was sitting with the small group of individuals while conducting the interview, and that in the past, small groups huddled together like that had gone on to disturb the peace. The video tape belonging to Michelle which showed the atmosphere before the arrest was shown in court, and Michelle acted as a witness for Lori. Lori also provided her journalist pass from CMAQ (independent media centre) and a magazine she works for to prove that she is a journalist. The judge (Verdon) found that the situation did not constitute an unlawful assembly, and even if it did, Lori was not part of the common purpose as she was doing her job as a journalist. Acquitted! Lori got her gas mask and other belongings back. The rest of the cases were postponed until January.
Erin B.: Erin was not able to stay in Québec city past Tuesday and unfortunately her trial was set as the last one for that week. Her trial has been postponed.
Frank V.: The warrant for his arrest was lifted. Guillaume A.: Guillaume has decided to go ahead with his trial. It is postponed until January 20th.
Darren F., Tommy Des., Alexei G., Lance L., Micah G., Dee H., Allan G., Bruno D.: Postponed until January.
The Monday in court was disheartening as the judge did not find any of the accused credible, but found the police to be extremely credible even when they made errors in their testimonies. Even in Graham's case where he gave an acquittal, he had nothing but negative comments. This bias is nothing new in the "justice" system, and follows the general pattern that we have seen so far. The second day in court was more upbeat as there was a change in judges, and we watched evidence pile up for Lori's innocence, including her entertaining video.