Judge cautions De Beers about suing blockaders – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – February 25, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – A Timmins judge urged De Beers Canada Monday to give careful consideration before launching into any lawsuits against the demonstrators who blockaded the ice road leading to the Victor diamond mine.

“I would think twice about that,” Superior Court Judge Robert Riopelle told De Beers lawyer Neal Smitheman when asked about opportunities to determine costs and file an application to sue for damages. “I think relationships between you and community members are very good probably right now but it may sour somewhat if you do something like that.”

Despite the peaceful resolution to the blockade reached Friday night, Smitheman said it may be impossible for De Beers to deliver all the fuel, equipment and supplies it needs for the year before the ice road begins to melt.

De Beers typically requires 30 days to truck all of its supplies within a 45-day period when the ice road is operational. However, as a result of two separate blockades, De Beers has lost nearly three weeks to get the job done.

During a teleconference meeting that was held in open court Monday, Smitheman enquired about making written submissions to the court about costs to the company as a result of the blockade.

“If you still want to go ahead with that,” Riopelle said with a note of reservation, “bring your motion within the next 30 days, co-ordinate it with the trial co-ordinator to make sure we have a day and time for it” then make sure all the defendants are served with the notice in person.

When Riopelle suggested De Beers may want to “think twice” about proceeding with the lawsuit, Smitheman replied, “I hear your message loud and clear, your honour. So, I will seek firm instructions with respect whether or not we are going to proceed with costs.”

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.timminspress.com/2013/02/25/judge-cautions-de-beers-about-suing-blockaders


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