Judge calls [DeBeers mine] blockade an act of extortion – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – February 21, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – The ongoing blockade outside the Victor diamond mine is not an Aboriginal protest but an act of extortion, a Timmins Superior Court judge declared Wednesday.

Judge Robert Riopelle said the men who are spearheading the blockade are not fighting for constitutional rights, land claims, treaty issues or anything that would benefit the community of Attawapiskat.

These are “individuals with private financial interests, holding a large multinational corporation to ransom,” Judge Robert Riopelle. “It smells of coercion.” Riopelle felt there was sufficient basis for the Ontario Provincial Police to lay criminal charges against the six demonstrators who have prevented access to the mine site since Feb. 11.

The hearing on Wednesday was hastily called late Tuesday, at the request of De Beers Canada, as a followup the injunction order that was made on Friday. Its purpose was to provide direction on enforcing the order.

Riopelle had issued the order, demanding the barricades be removed from the ice road and prohibiting any further obstruction of access to the mine site by the demonstrators.

On Wednesday, Neal Smitheman, lawyer representing De Beers, questioned why the police were not enforcing this order. He said the police had been at the scene of the blockade and met with the demonstrators, and yet they did not break up the barricades nor arrest those behind the illegal blockade.

He said the police should be making “every effort” to re-open that road.

Smitheman said police can “exercise discretion on how that order should best be enforced” but it is not their choice whether or not to enforce a judge’s order.

Chris Diana, the lawyer representing the OPP, told the court the police service acknowledges and accepts the responsibility of enforcing court orders.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.timminspress.com/2013/02/20/judge-calls-blockade-an-act-of-extortion


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