Coastal GasLink Trial on Hold as Court Probes Police Excessive Force

"The defense for three activists from First Nations argues abuse of process by security forces around the pipeline construction site, as the U.N. and Amnesty International allege excessive force, surveillance and criminalization of land defenders."

"The trial of three Indigenous land defenders arrested at a pipeline construction site on unceded Wet’suwet’en First Nation land was adjourned until spring on Friday, as the court looks into potential abuses by Canadian police.

In the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Smithers, B.C., the trial is the latest development in the nearly 12-year fight against the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline in the Canadian province.

Land defenders Sleydo’ Molly Wickham, Shay Lynn Sampson and Corey Jocko were found guilty of criminal contempt earlier this month, with Justice Michael Tanmen ruling that they broke a court injunction forbidding them from blocking access to construction for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

But immediately following the verdict, Tanmen began a week-long hearing to listen to the three individuals’ abuse of process applications, which allege that their Charter rights were violated during their arrests and detentions. During the hearing, the defense argued to stay the charges based on these applications, citing excessive force, aggressive behavior, offensive language and mocking by police."

Keerti Gopal reports for Inside Climate News January 24, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 01/25/2024