After a full day of submissions, the court ordered Bob Lovelace and the KI 6 released immediately and stayed the sentences, including fines.
Officially, the court ordered them released for time served, but the court also stressed that although they were ordering the appellants released for time served, they did not want this to imply that they thought that the sentences or the time served portions of the sentences were appropriate. Detailed reasons will follow.
We stressed in our submissions that the root cause of the train wreck proceedings which led to these offensive sentences is the Mining Act and the province's almost obsessive attachment to the mining industry and the free entry system. Since we were only appealing sentences, and not the injunctions or the findings of contempt, I expected the panel (Justices Feldman, Rosenberg and MacPherson) to cut me off and order me to restrict my submissions strictly to sentencing issues, but they allowed us to present the context in adequate detail.
Although they did not give any clear indication as to what their complete decision and reasons would be, they did seem troubled by Ontario's rigid refusal to negotiate or to consider the possibility of FNs having a right to say no to mining and their position of indifference towards the contempt and sentencing proceedings in the lower courts. Of course they were also struggling to come up with alternative sanctions for contempt in similar cases.
At the conclusion Bob, the KI 6 and their families, friends and supporters walked up University to a heroes' welcome at QP. Bob was clear exhausted (he was transfered to the Don Jail at midnight last
night) but said he would take part in tomorrow's march from QP to the lake shore.
I'm en route to the NWT and pretty tired. I'll give a fuller report later.
Christopher M. Reid
Barrister & Solicitor