Charges thrown out for those crossing injunction line on Burnaby Mountain
WATCH: Kinder Morgan was back in court today – asking a judge to expand its injunction zone on Burnaby Mountain. And as Grace Ke reports, the protesters were also there trying to stop that from happening.
VANCOUVER – A B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that all civil contempt charges issued to protesters on Burnaby Mountain have been thrown out. Those who were going to appear in court on Dec. 12 will now no longer need to do so, including Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, who was arrested earlier today.
The judge has also denied Kinder Morgan an extension on their injunction to keep protesters away from survey crews on the mountain. Kinder Morgan was asking for an extension to Dec. 12.
Kinder Morgan protesters chained themselves to the entrance doors of the Supreme Court during the court hearing. After a fire alarm went off the guards cut the locks with bolt cutters as it became a safety issue.
Thursday morning the injunction around borehole number two was removed as work has been completed at this site. The injunction around borehole number one remains in effect for a few more days.
Protesters on the mountain vow to stay at the site as long as Kinder Morgan employees are there. More demonstrators were arrested yesterday, pushing total numbers above 100 since police began enforcing the injunction.
On Wednesday the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) put out a press release saying nearly 90 of the arrests made by the RCMP could be found illegitmate.
A new application to expand the zone from which protesters are prohibited on Burnaby Mountain says the RCMP have been arresting people for entering an exclusion zone that extends beyond the boundaries of the original court injunction. The BCCLA says by seeking an injunction for a larger zone, the RCMP is acknowledging that the boundaries of the injunction area have been unclear to protesters.
“The RCMP appear to have arrested dozens of people for breaching an injunction when they may have done no such thing; carting people away for crossing a line they didn’t cross,” says Josh Paterson, executive director of the BCCLA. “The thing with being charged with breaching a court order is that you need to have actually breached what the court ordered. It’s totally unclear whether that is the case, given the acknowledgment that RCMP have arrested people for crossing a police tape line that was metres from the actual injunction line. The enforcement of this injunction has been a mess from the get-go, with nobody really understanding where they are allowed to stand and demonstrate, and where they have to avoid.”
The RCMP says there is no confusion and when protesters cross the yellow police tape they know they are violating the injunction.
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