VERDICT AND POSSIBLE SENTENCING FOR SHAWN BRANT
OSHAWA COURTHOUSE, COURTROOM 1
242 KING STREET EAST
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2002 - 9.30 AM
Press Release by OCAP (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty)
In the James Flaherty eviction trial of OCAP members, the Durham Crown has chosen to drop the charges against most people. Mohawk activist, Shawn Brant, however, has been singled out for some very ugly special attention.
The Crown is simply arguing that any and all 'wrongdoing' that is connected with the event can and should be laid at Shawn's feet. His lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, stresses that 'no evidence was produced that Shawn Brant damaged anything in the office, yet it is suggested that he should be held responsible for the conduct of others present'.
The implications for those resisting the policies of people like James Flaherty are as serious as they are obvious. If some participant in a political demonstration, selected on the basis of being a 'leader' or on some other basis, can be held accountable for any and all actions carried out, then the police and courts will have the ability to pick out and persecute those they seek to silence.
We simply cannot allow Shawn to be singled out in this way. As a Mohawk who has worked tirelessly to build a link between our struggles and those of his Nation against poverty and oppression, we have the clearest responsibility to mobilize on his behalf. Justice has been denied First Nations people too long by this Government. The positions taken by the State in this case, right down to denying Shawn the right to hunt and feed his family and others in the community this winter, provide just one more example of how First Nations people are criminalized and oppressed As part of their drive to criminalize OCAP and its supporters, a special phalanx of guards has been positioned outside the courtroom where the Flaherty eviction cases have been heard. We are appealing to everyone to join us on the 28th and help give their metal detectors a special workout!