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Set off at protest camp: Saskatchewan man gets absolute discharge for fireworks

A man accused of setting off fireworks toward a protest camp outside the Saskatchewan legislature last summer has received an absolute discharge.
A man accused of setting off fireworks toward a protest camp outside the Saskatchewan legislature last summer has received an absolute discharge. Michael Bell / The Canadian Press

A man accused of setting off fireworks near a protest camp outside the Saskatchewan legislature has received an absolute discharge.

Brent Holland of Yorkton, Sask., pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a Regina courtroom to one count of mischief for shooting a Roman candle into some trees last August near the camp called Justice for Our Stolen Children.

Police said they were not aware of any injuries or damage, but the fireworks resulted in a number of charges against Holland, including arson and assault with a weapon.

READ MORE: Justice for Our Stolen Children camp ordered to leave Wascana Park

A number of charges were withdrawn following the guilty plea.

Crown prosecutor William Jennings says the guilty plea, combined with Holland having abided by conditions to keep the peace, follow a curfew and stay out of Regina, makes the absolute discharge sufficient punishment.

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The camp was set up in late February to bring attention to what protesters said was racial injustice and the disproportionate number of Indigenous children apprehended by child-welfare workers.

READ MORE: Judge reserves decision in Justice For Our Stolen Children camp court case

An absolute discharge means there is a finding of guilt but no conviction is registered.

Jennings said security cameras showed Holland with about nine other people around some vehicles parked near an intersection about 2 a.m. on Aug. 12.

He said the video shows Holland lighting a corner-store firework and pointing it at the tree line about three metres from the sidewalk before the Roman candle went off.

READ MORE: Regina police won’t shut down protest camp until courts rule

“The shot hit the trees and the foliage, dropping to the ground without causing any damage. And then the group scatters. It doesn’t appear that he was aiming for the camp at all,”  Jennings said.

He said the video did not show any altercation between Holland and the protesters, nor did the group appear to be paying attention to the camp.

Holland spoke to the court through his lawyer.

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“Basically characterizing his actions as being a stupid, stupid mistake. He’s very remorseful, very embarrassed,” Jennings said.

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