Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, centre, is arrested by RCMP officers after joining protesters outside Kinder Morgan’s facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday March 23, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Elizabeth May, other anti-pipeline protesters to be criminally charged

Crown will take over the contempt charges initially filed by Kinder Morgan

Crown counsel announced Monday it will pursue criminal charges against Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May, Burnaby-South MP Kennedy Stewart and dozens of other anti-pipeline protesters.

This follows their arrests on March 23 for violating a court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline work sites in Burnaby.

Work was eventually suspended, on April 8, when Kinder Morgan officials said they were halting all “non-essential” construction largely because of the B.C. government’s opposition to the project.

Last Monday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck told Crown lawyer Trevor Shaw that violating the court injunction was a criminal, and not civil, matter.

Two special prosecutors have been appointed to handle two higher-profile cases.

Vancouver lawyer Greg DelBigio will handle May’s case and Vancouver lawyer Michael Klein will take over Kennedy Stewart’s case. The pair were appointed to avoid any bias, real or perceived, in the case.

Neither May nor Kennedy were in court Moday and their matters will be handled separately. They will make their next court appearance on April 30.

Court process ‘too fast to be fair’

Multiple defence lawyers for the other arrestees cautioned the judge that the schedule presented – with trials to start on May 7 – might be too rapid to be fair.

“We’re pushing back a bit on the sense of urgency,” said one. “I’m not sure this sense of urgency exists.”

Affleck told defence counsel that although he understood that the sheer number of people charged “imposed layers of complexity” on the trials, he was prepared to move as quickly as possible.

Shaw said that his team would work on a process for handling additional arrests as protests at the Trans Mountain site continue.

So far, Kinder Morgan has begun legal proceedings against 167 people and the company’s legal counsel Maureen Killoran said that 124 have been served either personally or have contacted the company after receiving a notice at their residence.

Speaking after court, Crown spokesperson Dan McLaughlin said that all 167 would be served with notice of pending criminal charges.

However, multiple accused protested the notion that they had been properly served.

One woman told the judge that her notice to appear was dropped off on her Victoria doorstep the night before her court date.

“What kind of operation is this?” she asked, sparking applause in court.

Affleck acknowledged that showing up for what has turned into a weeks-long process was difficult for the accused.

“But there’s something very important going on… and that is whether orders of this court can be disobeyed with impunity. And the answer is that they can’t.”

More to come.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Tom Pyper’s life on the South Saskatchewan Pipeline

Red Deer man looks back on his time working on the Cantuar pump station

Central Alberta Theatre is gearing up to present Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s)

Opening night is April 20th with shows running through to May 5th.

Burman U prof publishes international development book

The Development Trap: How Thinking Big Fails the Poor looks to challenge perceptions

WATCH: Check out this week’s What’s Up Wednesday

A weekly recap of the week in news

WATCH: Red Deerian receives award for aiding RCMP officer in arrest

Lonnie Amundson, rugby player, tackled a fleeing suspect to help ailing officer

WATCH: Red Deer’s latest ‘Ghost’ statue unveiled at Servus Arena

‘The Face-off’ is the 11th ‘Ghost’ in the notable bronze series

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with U.S. government

Disgraced cyclist reached $5-million settlement with sponsor U.S. Postal Service

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

UPDATE: No charges in found horses near Bentley

Responding Ponoka veterinarian says horses were in healthy condition.

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becoming viral video

Most Read