Ten Muskrat Falls protesters sen­tenced

Given sus­pended sen­tences and dis­charges

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY EVAN CAREEN

Ten peo­ple were given con­di­tional dis­charges and sus­pended sen­tences in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay Supreme court on Sept. 6 for their role in the Muskrat Falls protests in 2016.

All 10 pleaded guilty to civil con­tempt of court by vi­o­lat­ing the Supreme Court in­junc­tion that Nal­cor got from the courts in Oct. 16, 2016. The in­junc­tion named 22 spe­cific in­di­vid­u­als but in­cluded “any other per­sons found un­law­fully oc­cu­py­ing the project site.” Since the charge is a civil one, not crim­i­nal, none of the 10 will have a crim­i­nal record from these charges.

A num­ber of peo­ple were charged in re­la­tion to the protests in Oct. 2016, which saw a large num­ber of peo­ple protest at the Muskrat Falls site. Ap­prox­i­mately 50 peo­ple en­tered the site on Oct. 22 and oc­cu­pied it un­til Oct. 26. Some of the 10 sen­tenced were part of that group which en­tered the site.

Oth­ers have al­ready dealt with their charges and have been given penal­ties rang­ing from sus­pended sen­tences to ab­so­lute dis­charges.

Jerry Iglo­liorte, Doreen Davis-Ward, Ge­orge Cabot, Shanae Dicker, Bran­don Cabot, Todd Ap­plin Jr., Sa­muel Davis, Roger Shi­wak, Celeste An­der­son and Michaela Pal­lis­erFlow­ers were the 10 in­di­vid­u­als who ap­peared in court. Mark Gruchy rep­re­sented a num­ber of them and said un­der nor­mal con­di­tions they were law-abid­ing cit­i­zens.

“They were mo­ti­vated by con­cerns flow­ing from their per­cep­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences of their life in Labrador and their re­la­tion­ship with their land,” he said.

Grouchy asked for dis­charges for his clients in­stead of sus­pended sen­tences. While in civil court both penal­ties es­sen­tially amount to the same thing, a pe­riod where they are un­der un­der­tak­ings to keep the peace and be of good be­hav­iour among other con­di­tions, Grouchy said the dif­fer­ence is sym­bolic and re­spects that al­most two years has passed since the of­fenses.

“It would be a sig­nal, I think, in the com­mu­nity that the court wishes to sup­port rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and the neg­a­tiv­ity that char­ac­ter­ized this mat­ter at the be­gin­ning does not need to per­sist and that our so­ci­ety as a whole is heal­ing and we’re all go­ing to move for­ward to­gether,” Grouchy said.

Jus­tice Ge­orge Mur­phy said a con­cern of the court is that it sends the mes­sage that peo­ple un­der­stand that de­spite griev­ances they may have with de­ci­sions and projects, there is a proper and im­proper way to deal with it.

“The im­proper way is to vi­o­late or­ders of the courts,” Mur­phy said. “If we al­low peo­ple to sim­ply vi­o­late court or­ders as they wish then the so­ci­ety as we know it will grad­u­ally no longer ex­ist.”

Mur­phy said he did rec­og­nize that a long time has passed since the of­fenses, that it would pro­mote rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, and that some of the peo­ple had only bro­ken the in­junc­tion once. Those peo­ple, which in­cluded Sa­muel Davis, Roger Shi­wak and Celeste An­der­son, were given con­di­tional dis­charges.

Some of the peo­ple sen­tenced are also fac­ing crim­i­nal charges re­lat­ing to the same protests. Doreen Davis-Ward, Ge­orge Cabot, Roger Shi­wak and Celeste An­der­son are still fac­ing crim­i­nal charges of un­law­fully dis­obey­ing an or­der of the court

and mis­chief re­lat­ing to a tes­ta­men­tary in­stru­ment or prop­erty greater than $5,000. Cabot is also fac­ing a charge of tak­ing a mo­tor ve­hi­cle with­out con­sent.

Over 20 other peo­ple are still fac­ing civil and crim­i­nal charges re­lat­ing to the Oct. 2016 protests, with hear­ings sched­uled in Supreme Court this month and in Oc­to­ber. A large group is also sched­uled to ap­pear in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay provin­cial court on Nov. 19.


A num­ber of peo­ple were sen­tenced in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay Supreme court on Thurs­day, Sept. 6. Co-ac­cused and sup­port­ers were on hand for the sen­tenc­ings of 10 Muskrat Falls pro­tes­tors.

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