Pipe­line protest­ing priests found guilty of civil con­tempt

Com­pany saw to it two women found guilty of civil con­tempt, seeks le­gal costs, jail for them

StarMetro Vancouver - - FRONT PAGE - CHERISE SEUCHARAN

After chain­ing them­selves to a tree on Trans Moun­tain’s prop­erty on Burn­aby Moun­tain, two ac­tivists have been found guilty of civil con­tempt of court and are now await­ing sen­tenc­ing.

Trans Moun­tain is seek­ing seven days of jail time and pay­ment for all of their le­gal fees.

Lau­rel Dyk­stra, an Angli­can priest at the en­vi­ron­men­tally fo­cused church Salal and Cedar, and Lini Hutch­ings, a mem­ber of her con­gre­ga­tion, were ar­rested in May for breach­ing an in­junc­tion that barred pro­test­ers from com­ing within five me­tres of the prop­erty line.

Fol­low­ing the rul­ing in B.C. Supreme Court on Wed­nes­day, Dyk­stra said that seven days of jail time was “in the range they ex­pected” — but they are more con­cerned about pay­ing Trans Moun­tain’s court fees, which could be in the hun­dreds of thou­sands.

Dyk­stra said she felt that Trans Moun­tain seek­ing the fees was a per­sonal at­tack and a means of sup­press­ing fur­ther protest.

“It feels tar­geted and feels like an in­tim­i­da­tion tac­tic, where the pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion of reg­u­lar folks ex­press­ing dis­sent is be­ing threat­ened fi­nan­cially,” she said.

Ear­lier this year, the Crown dropped crim­i­nal charges against both women.

Trans Moun­tain pur­sued a civil con­tempt of court charge — a change in ap­proach, after many peo­ple had al­ready been crim­i­nally con­victed for ac­tions taken as they protested the pipe­line ex­pan­sion.

Prior to the rul­ing, a video taken on the day of their ar­rest in May was shown to the court, de­pict­ing both women chained to a tree.

Matthew Huys, at­tor­ney for Trans Moun­tain, ar­gued that the prop­erty line was “clearly de­lin­eated” and that Trans Moun­tain had clearly posted copies of the in­junc­tion or­der along the fence.

CHERISE SEUCHARAN/STARMETRO

Lini Hutch­ings and Lau­rel Dyk­stra await sen­tenc­ing after be­ing found guilty of breach­ing an in­junc­tion to stay five me­tres away from Trans Moun­tain prop­erty.

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