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(en) Canada, Toronto, OCAP Jury Trial Defence To Begin & 2 Recent Victories In The Courts

From "mick" <mick@nefac.net>
Date Sun, 13 Apr 2003 09:59:57 +0200 (CEST)


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> From: OCAP <ocap@tao.ca>
DEFENCE IN OCAP JURY TRIAL EXPECTED TO OPEN TUESDAY, APRIL 15. JOHN
CLARKE OF OCAP TO BE FIRST DEFENCE WITNESS.

We fully expect that John will begin his testimony at 10.00 AM, next
Tuesday, in courtroom 2-8 in the Superior Court Building at 361 University
Avenue. All support that can be mobilized at that time will be of huge
help and greatly appreciated.

We are now in the final leg of a long and drawn out process. Since being
singled out as the alleged 'leaders' of a 'planned riot' at Queen's Park
on June 15, 2000, Stefan Pilipa, Gaetan Heroux and John Clarke have had to
live with bail conditions that massively restricted their civil liberties.
The present trial, including weeks of pre-trial motions, has been underway
since January 13. Roughly twenty police witnesses have been called to
testify and dozens of photos and video tapes have been shown to the Jury.
Over the last couple of weeks, things have been further delayed by
arguments that have established that, for the purposes of this trial, it
is not possible for the Defence to cast doubt on the conduct of the
Speaker of the Legislature and his security staff on June 15 or to
question their judgement. There will be much more to say on this once the
trial is over.

Now it is our turn to put forward our case. We did not plan or counsel a
riot on that day but brought demands forward in a militant fashion and
demanded to be heard. The confrontation that took place was precipitated
by an arrogant and intransigent Government and an incompetent, reckless
and hugely aggressive police operation.

Please, if it is at all possible for you to be there, come out next week
and stand in solidarity with us. Three OCAP members are on trial but the
right to dissent and to resist are also at stake.

A few final points:-

When political activists are criminalized, the courts make few special
allowances for those who want to come out as supporters. We expect that
our side will open its case on Tuesday morning but there is an outside
possibility of having to get underway on Monday afternoon. That being so,
anyone who is able to should turn out at 2.15 PM that day.

Of course, we all agree that these charges are unfair and that it is
Harris, Eves and Fantino who should be on trial. Sadly, however, society
is not yet organized along sufficiently just or rational lines for this to
occur. In the meantime, we must preserve our right to have this affair
unfold as a public trial. It is vital, therefore, that those who turn out
to show support not violate the rules of the courtroom. You may hear
allegations that offend you or suggestions put to a defence witness you
think laughable. Please undertake to hold in such feelings if you plan to
attend

On the subject of giving support, please keep the donations coming. OCAP
is under great pressure and needs assistance. Cheques and cash donations
can be brought to the courthouse. Please, if you have not already done
so, go to our website at www.ocap.ca and sign the June 15 solidarity
statement.

We'll see you on Tuesday and please remember the most important verdict
that must emerge from this trial is that our movement is not intimidated
and that their attacks have made us stronger.


OCAP KICKS OLD CITY HALL'S ASS!

OCAP had two resounding victories in the Old City Hall courthouse on Monday,
March 31. Tucker, an OCAP member on trial for theft had a charge dismissed,
and Magaly San Martin, up on charges relating to the June 15th 'riot' had
her's dropped! [...

Tucker was on the 3rd day of trial for the charge of Theft, relating to the
disappearance of a box of standardized tests and their subsequent leak over
the Internet in the fall of 2001. The Ontario Government and Crown
prosecuting the case have put the cost of this leak as high as $17 Million,
and have been pointing the finger at OCAP, both publicly and in the courts,
ever since the leak hit the news.
The Crown's case was obviously weak from the beginning, solely based on
motive (something that the defendant in no way denied) and opportunity.
However, from the start, the allegation of opportunity became less and less
convincing. The Detective who had investigated the case was forced to admit
that he didn't look into all the possible suspects, while the Defense cut
major holes in the Crown's proposed timeline of events (i.e. when the tests
were actually heisted).

When the Crown's case ended midday on April 1, the defense put forward a
motion to dismiss based on lack of presented evidence. While this motion is
often used, it is rarely effective. However, due to the critical lack of any
shred of real evidence presented against Tucker, the Judge was forced to
dismiss the charges without the defense even needing to present its side. The
dismissal of Tucker's charges should be viewed in tandem with the previous
dropping of charges against the co-excused in this case, Karen Silverwomyn.
Karen's charges were dropped only weeks before trial, again for lack of
evidence. For the courts to drag these two through set-dates, reporting,
conditions and more when any legal authority could've predicted the outcome
we've seen these past weeks is abominable. After one and a half years, this
legal vindication rings hollow, and while we view this as a victory, we know
that our real victories come to us on the streets, and not in their
courtrooms.


Talk about stretching out ludicrous charges. Magaly San Martin finally had
charges relating to the 'riot' at Queen's Park - an event which occurred
almost 3 years ago - withdrawn after incredible delay by the State. The crown
failed to get transcripts to the defense in order to make final arguments,
supposedly because the court worker responsible for preparing them has
been "ill" all this time. After 5 or 6 times of rescheduling dates they
finally stopped their stall tactics and dropped the charges.

But again, this acquittal leaves something to be desired. The charges against
Magaly should've been thrown out years ago, following her experience in bail
court in front of an outwardly racist Justice of the Peace who said, "maybe
she thinks she can get away with that kind of thing in Chile, but in Canada
we don't allow this sort of thing." The J.P. followed his comment by ordering
this community legal worker with no criminal record detained in order
to "maintain confidence in the administration of justices."

The "administration of justice..." is a farce. Just like we see targeted
policing in the streets, we continue to see targeted prosecution in the
courts. And as our members and supporters are dragged through the legal swamp
that portrays itself as "justice", we are determined to continue the fight on
this front.


**
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
517 College Street, Suite 234 Toronto, Ontario M5G 4A2
416-925-6939 ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca
**

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