Shawn Brant’s Preliminary Inquiry Begins

Brant’s preliminary hearing begins

Jeremy Ashley The Intelligencer Local News – Monday, August 27, 2007 Updated @ 6:08:17 PM

NAPANEE — A preliminary inquiry into criminal charges against Shawn Brant began Monday with much less fanfare than his previous court appearances.

The 42-year-old Mohawk protester was brought from the Napanee Detention Centre for a court appearance that was markedly less theatrical than previous appearances in court here. There were, as in many previous appearances, no protesters outside, nor were there any supporters in the public gallery as Brant was quietly led handcuffed and shackled to the prisoner’s box shortly after 9:30 a.m. wearing a worn white T-shirt, camouflage pants and work boots.

By 11 a.m., however, there were about a dozen people who appeared to support Brant in the courtroom, but they were a subdued group.

What wasn’t different about Brant’s latest appearance was the heavy police presence at the County Memorial Building — there were a number of Ontario Provincial Police officers scattered throughout the Dundas Street West site and visitors were searched and scanned with metal detectors before being allowed into the courtroom.

Brant is facing nine criminal charges in connection with various protests over the past nine months — breaching conditions imposed after he was charged with uttering death treats at a Deseronto protest last November, leading a group of Mohawk protesters that obstructed the main CN Rail line in April and for his role in what police charge was co-ordinating the blockade for National Aboriginal Day of Action on June 29 that blocked a large section of County Road 2, two CN Rail line crossings and propmpted police to close part of Highway 401 between Belleville and Napanee.

His stated goal during the events was to increase awareness of aboriginal land claims, native poverty and conditions on reserves.

Brant, the only one of his group arrested for his part in those incidents, is charged with six counts of mischief exceeding $5,000, two counts of breaching his recognizance and one count of failing to obey a court order.

Three days have been set aside for the preliminary hearing, which is held to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a trial.

The inquiry began shortly before 10 a.m., with presiding Justice Robert Fournier granting a request from Brant’s lawyer Peter Rosenthal asking if his client could sit at the defence table without restraints.

Brant, looking pale, remained composed throughout the day, often watching the proceedings intensely or taking notes.

With what he termed his second “housekeeping” matter, Rosenthal criticized security measures enacted by the OPP, particularly those from Brant’s last two bail hearings, which were held at the Superior Court of Justice courthouse on Thomas Street East in Napanee.

The Toronto-based lawyer questioned the “quite unusual security precautions” taken by police during the hearings, including asking visitors to sign a guest book and to be videotaped before entering the courtroom.

“Many people thought they were being investigated,” Rosenthal contended. “Many planned to attend (today), but didn’t.”

In dismissing the complaint, Fournier said security “is often complex” and “it’s not within my jurisdiction to police the police.”

Then, in what is contrary to normal practice for a defence lawyer, Rosenthal argued against the Crown’s motion of having a publication ban put in place during the inquiry.

Typically, the accused in a case asks for a ban on publicity during preliminary inquiries — a move the judge is required to grant if sought by the defence.

Crown attorney Robert Morrison said the Brant matter was an “emotional type of case” and a ban must be enacted in order to protect the integrity of jury selection, if the matter is to go to trial.

Rosenthal, meanwhile, said the Crown presented “all sorts of inflammatory evidence” during the two previous bail hearings, which didn’t have any bans on content.

“To argue for a publication ban now, given that, is a bit odd,” he said.

In handing down his decision to enact a ban, Fournier said any informationpresented during a bail review “has no consequence … I do have a responsibility to protect the integrity of this process.”


Security tight as inquiry opens; Mohawk activist Shawn Brant accused of mischief, breaching bail

Frank Armstrong Local news – Tuesday, August 28, 2007 @ 00:00

A preliminary inquiry for a Mohawk activist accused of mischief and breaching his bail conditions by leading two railway blockades and disrupting traffic on Highway 401 earlier this year began yesterday.

Shawn Brant, 43, faces nine criminal charges in relation to thedisruptions – one in April in the Napanee area and three in June in the Deseronto area.

Mohawks and their supporters ran a 30-hour blockade on the CN Rail tracks in Napanee on April 20 to protest the operation of a gravel quarry on land subject to negotiations between the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and the federal government.

They blocked the CN tracks again on June 28 and 29 as part of a national aboriginal day of action on June 29 to bring attention to problems faced in First Nations communities, such as poor water quality, poverty and high youth suicide rates. They blocked Highway 2 near Deseronto and forced police to close off a stretch of Highway 401.

Security was unusually tight at yesterday’s hearing in Napanee Court.

Spectators and witnesses entering the court had their bags searched and about six uniformed OPP officers guarded the stairs and waiting area outside the courtroom. The officers also made people turn out their pockets and swept a metal detector over each person.

Peter Rosenthal, Brant’s Toronto lawyer, pointed out that unlike his client’s last court appearance when more than 100 supporters attended a failed bail application, few of Brant’s supporters came to court for him yesterday.

Rosenthal said they were too intimidated to show up after the Aug. 10 hearing, when spectators were made to show photo ID and provide their date of birth and were videotaped doing so. He accused police of abusing their authority while conducting security.

“Security is acceptable in this day and age, but making people write down their names and numbers is not,” Rosenthal said outside the courthouse. “When they do things like that, make people write down their name, address and birthday and videotape them, they want to investigate supporters of Mr. Brant, not do security.”

Brant has been behind bars since July 5. He had been out on bail after being arrested for the April railway blockade.

He’s alleged to have violated a condition of his bail that forbade him from inciting or participating in illegal protests that blocked thoroughfares.

Justice D.K. Kirkland decided Brant couldn’t be trusted to respect the courts and locked him away while legal proceedings continue.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled to last three days. It is intended to satisfy the judge as to whether there is enough evidence for Brant to stand trial in a higher court.

Brant has elected to be tried by judge and jury.

When the preliminary hearing wraps up tomorrow afternoon, Rosenthal said he will again appeal to the court to let his client out on bail.

Rosenthal has compared Brant to Martin Luther King.

A civil rights lawyer and mathematics professor at University of Toronto, Rosenthal, told the Whig-Standard he took Brant’s case because he believes in Brant’s stated mission to create awareness of aboriginal poverty and oppression.

“In my view, the protest that they did was very justified in light of the horrors that have been done to them,” he said. “I hope the Canadian government starts to really rectify some of those injustices so that protests are not required in the future.”

Several Crown witnesses presented evidence at yesterday’s hearing, including lead investigator OPP Det. Const. Doug Weiss and Sgt. Kristine Rae, community services co-ordinator for the OPP in Eastern Ontario.

Managers from CN Rail also took the stand, but no evidence can be published because evidence at preliminary inquiries is generally forbidden under publication bans.

The hearing continues today.

OPP commissioner Julian Fantino is expected to testify tomorrow.

Brant’s trial date may be set this week.

Arar report exposes RCMP, government officials complicit in torture

The coalition of groups with intervener status at the Arar Inquiry, including the Law Union, released the following statement in response to the commission’s final report.

September 18, 2006

Ottawa – Justice Dennis O’Connor has confirmed the worst fears of Organizations with Intervenor Status at the Arar Inquiry: that Canadian officials were complicit in the torture of Maher Arar and other Canadian citizens.

“Justice O’Connor has documented in astonishing detail how the very officials tasked with protecting the rights of these
Canadian citizens failed to live up to that responsibility, and worse yet, were directly involved in passing on questions for
interrogations where torture would be used,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.

The report details the callous disregard for the very real likelihood that government actions would directly contribute to the
torture of these Canadian citizens. In particular, there is chilling reference to an October 10, 2002 memo in which a Foreign
Affairs official warns that a decision to send a line of questioning about Abdullah Almalki to Syrian security agencies might
“involve torture.” The RCMP chose to ignore the concern and proceeded anyway:

“The RCMP are ready to send their Syrian counterparts a request that Al Malki be asked questions osed by the RCMP, questions relating to other members of his organization. Both ISI andDMSCUS/HOM [Ambassador Pillarella] have pointed out to the RCMP that such questioning may nvolve torture. The RCMP are aware of this but have nonetheless decided to send their request”(Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar: Analysis and Recommendations, page 209).

Intervenors welcome Justice O’Connor’s recommendation that a further process of “independent and credible” review into the
cases of Mr. Abdullah Almalki, Mr. Ahmad El Maati and Mr. Muayyed Nureddin be instituted (Analysis and Recommendations,
page 278), and urge the government to act on this recommendation without further delay. These men have waited far too long
for answers and accountability.

Organizations intervening at the Arar Commission are also pleased that Justice O’Connor says that his Interim Report should
remove any “taint or suspicion” that Mr. Arar has committed any offence or constitutes any threat to the security of Canada
(Anaylsis and Recommendations, page 59).

Justice O’Connor is also clearly of the view that Mr. Arar is entitled to compensation and has encouraged the Canadian
government to be flexible in how that compensation should be assessed, recognizing the suffering he has been through, the
damage of the improper and unfair leaks, his difficulty in finding employment and the impact of the inquiry itself.

Justice O’Connor has also signaled that an apology might be appropriate (Analysis and Recommendations, page 362-363).

“The report offers a staggering catalogue of deficiencies, mistakes and even deliberate wrongdoing, all of which laid the
ground for the severe abuses suffered by Mr. Arar and the other three men named in this report,” said Neve.

Those responsible should be held accountable and the reforms recommended by Justice O’Connor should be immediately
implemented in order to guard against future repeats of these tragedies.

Justice O’Connor has also recommended that Canadian agencies involved in national security investigations implement
written policies prohibiting racial, religious or ethnic profiling, and training to sensitize those agencies to the realities of
Canada’s Muslim and Arab communities. Intervenors urge the government to prioritize the implementation of these

For more information, contact Kerry Pither, Committee of Intervenors at the Arar Inquiry, at mobile 613.294.2203, or Beth
Berton-Hunter, Amnesty International, at mobile 416.904.7158, Denis Barrette or Roch Tassé, at mobile 514.258.3945.

Be Worried: Privacy, the LSAT & The Patriot Act

Students writing LSAT warned about privacy threat CBC News The University of Ottawa is warning aspiring lawyers that they may be giving up their privacy when they hand over thumbprints while taking an admission test administered by a U.S. company. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is used by universities around the world, requires prospective students to provide an imprint of their thumb and other personal information, a move to prevent students from hiring smart imposters to write the test on their behalf. A private company in the United States, the Law School Admission Council, administers the test. Privacy experts and students are worried about how the Patriot Act, which allows U.S. agencies to secretly collect personal information in the name of national security, might affect information handed over to the company. Read Full Story

Harkat – Application for Leave to Appeal – Oct. 17th 05

Court File: IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA (On appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal)

B E T W E E N :







TAKE NOTICE that the Applicant Mohamed Harkat hereby applies for leave to appeal to the Court, pursuant to Rule 25, from the Judgement of the Federal Court of Appeal File No. A-144-05 made the 6th day of September, 2005 and for an order for his costs of this application, or such further or other order that the Court may deem appropriate. AND FURTHER TAKE NOTICE that this application for leave is made on the following grounds: 1. Argument on the constitutional issue in this case was completed before Justice Dawson on December 9th, 2004. 2. On December 10th, 2004 the Federal Court of Appeal released its decision in the Charkaoui case. 3. Justice Dawson released her decision on the reasonableness of the security certificate and on the constitutional issue on March 22nd, 2005. 4. The appeal in the Federal Court of Appeal was scheduled to be argued on September 6th, 2005. On August 25th, 2005 the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal from the Judgement of the Federal Court of Appeal in the Charkaoui case. 5. On September 6th, 2005 the applicant’s appeal was argued in the Federal Court of Appeal before the same three Judges who decided the Charkaoui case. The position of the applicant was that the Charkaoui decision was wrong in law. 6. In the Harkat appeal the Federal Court of Appeal followed its ruling in the Charkaoui case. The Court did not call on the Crown and gave its decision orally. 7. After the conclusion of the Harkat appeal counsel for the Respondents was asked whether the Respondent would consent to an application for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court of Canada. To date the Respondents have not indicated whether they would consent to the granting of leave to appeal. 8. The Federal Court erred in concluding that the provisions of Section 76-81 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act comply with the fundamental justice provisions of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 9. It is appropriate in this case that leave to appeal be granted in order that the Applicant will have the opportunity of arguing this appeal at the same time as the Charkaoui appeal is argued in the Supreme Court of Canada. DATED at Toronto, Ontario, this day of October, 2005.

Signed by ______________________________

Paul D. Copeland
Copeland, Duncan Barristers & Solicitors
31 Prince Arthur Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5R 1B2
Tel. (416) 964-8126 Ext. 142
Fax: (416) 960-5456

Matthew Webber
Webber, Schroeder
Barristers & Solicitors
220 Elgin Street 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1L7
Fax. 1 (613) 860-1549

Solicitors for the Applicant

ORIGINAL TO: The Registrar Supreme Court of Canada.
COPIES TO: Counsel for the Respondent Donald MacIntosh
The Attorney General of Canada
Department of Justice
Toronto Regional Office
130 King Street West Exchange Tower Suite 3400, Box 36
Toronto, Ontario M5X 1K6
Tel: (416) 973-0066
Fax: (416) 954-8982