B.C. First Na­tions chief charged with sex­ual of­fence in­volv­ing mi­nor

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

VIC­TO­RIA — A First Na­tions chief in Bri­tish Columbia is fac­ing a charge of sex­ual in­ter­fer­ence of a per­son un­der the age of 16.

The Bri­tish Columbia pros­e­cu­tion ser­vice says Roger Wil­liam of the Xeni Gwet’in is al­leged to have com­mit­ted the of­fence in Wil­liams Lake, B.C., on or about May 12 and was ex­pected to make his first court ap­pear­ance on Wed­nes­day. It says spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor Brock Mart­land ap­proved the charge af­ter he was ap­pointed on Mon­day be­cause the as­sis­tant deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral con­sid­ered the mat­ter in the public in­ter­est. Wil­liam, a for­mer cham­pion bull rider, was a lead­ing fig­ure in a Supreme Court of Canada de­ci­sion that granted the Tsil­hqot’in Abo­rig­i­nal ti­tle to more than 1,750 square kilo­me­tres of land in the Nemiah Val­ley, a moun­tain­ous area with pris­tine lakes, alpine val­leys and wild horses.

The de­ci­sion in 2014 was the first time a Cana­dian court de­clared Abo­rig­i­nal ti­tle to lands out­side of a re­serve.

The Xeni Gwet’in First Na­tion is one of six Tsil­hqot’in com­mu­ni­ties.

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