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(en) Canada, Toronto, CORRECTIONS!!! OCAP Trial Closing Arguments on Friday

From Jaggi Singh <jaggi@tao.ca>
Date Thu, 1 May 2003 09:44:04 +0200 (CEST)


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> From: OCAP <ocap@tao.ca>
We've just found out that the Defense's final arguments will not occur
until Friday of this week. Below is the revised schedule for the
remainder of the trial.
OCAP JURY TRIAL: END GAME
1. FINAL ARGUMENTS - HELP US PACK THE COURT!
Friday, May 2nd, 10am-4:30pm
2. OCAP SUPPORT RALLY &
PROTEST COURTHOUSE EVICTION OF HOMELESS PEOPLE
Tuesday, May 6th, 9am-10am

3. CHARGE TO THE JURY & VERDICT VIGIL -
Tuesday, MAY 6th, 10am- until verdict rendered

4. SHORT REMARKS OF THE ACCUSED


After 3 months, the trial of OCAP "leaders" John Clarke, Gaetan Heroux and
Stefan Pilipa has entered its final phase. For the last week & half the
defense has called anti-poverty activists, street nurses, professors and
political allies. All defense witnesses testified with strength and
integrity, recounting the events of June 15th as they experienced them,
affirming the defense's position that the confrontation that took place
did not flow from the actions of the three accused. Instead, they painted
a vivid picture of the stark political realities of the Harris Regime and
the conditions of poor and homeless people. Many testified to OCAP's track
record as a militant anti-poverty organization and what they percieved to
be an all out police assault on the crowd that day, one which seemed to
flow from the government's contempt for organized resistance. A mighty
thank you to all the witnesses who came and testified, as well as all
those who offered, and all those who have been coming and supporting us
each day. It's been a long haul, and your support has and will continue to
be crucial.

1. FINAL ARGUMENTS - PACK THE COURT!
Friday, May 2nd,
10am onward, 361 University, Court 2-8

This Friday, May 2nd, defense lawyers Peter Rosenthal, Bob Kellerman and
Jeff House will be making final submissions to the jury on ALL the
evidence. It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that supporters mobilize to FILL
THE COURT ROOM. Defense counsel have worked hard refuting the Crown's
evidence for the last 3 months and have put forward a strong defense. This
will be their LAST opportunity to summarize the case from the defense's
position. A full and supportive audience in the court room will be a shot
in the arm for defense counsel and will show the jury there is widespread
support for OCAP and the three accused.

MONDAY, MAY 5th - PROSECUTION'S CLOSING ARGUMENTS

Supporters are encouraged to attend this day as well, but it is less
important. The prosecution's closing remarks will mostly be interesting
for their comic value. (e.g. the Crown's "Chicken Puppet Theory". Ask us
about it.)

2. OCAP SUPPORT RALLY & PROTEST COURTHOUSE EVICTION OF HOMELESS PEOPLE
Tuesday, May 6th
9am - 10am
361 University, out front

Anyone who's come to the Superior Court building at 361 University Ave. in
downtown Toronto may have noticed what appears to be the belongings of
homeless people tucked into the corners and bushes surrounding the ominous
stone building. As the 3 OCAP accused have been required to attend
everyday, thay have noticed a regular removal of homeless people's
belongings. Cleaning crews come under the guard of Court Officers to pick
up and throw out the belongings when the owners have left to go about
their business for the day. As this happens those who have made the
sleeping/storage quarters out of nooks and crannies of the building's
outer facade are subject to a quasi-eviction. They leave for a time, and
come back when the Court Officers and cleaning crews are gone.

This practice is inhumane and unfair, and should discontinue. If
governments refuse to rally their vast resources to build affordable
housing for everyone in their so-called civilized society, then those same
governments should not lift one finger in trying to hide any evidence of
the lives they are failing to provide for. The fact that the government is
spending untold amounts of money prosecuting the leaders of an
anti-poverty organization inside that same building is too ugly to be
ironic.

Please come out to support the OCAP defendants on the last day of their
trial and protest the eviction of homeless people from the court house
property.


3. CHARGE TO THE JURY & VERDICT VIGIL -
Tuesday, MAY 6th
10am onward, 361 University, Court 2-8

This will be the day that Judge Ferrier "charges" the jury- that is, he
explains the specific considerations of law that they are to try the facts
of the case with. Once done, the jury is sequestered until they can make a
verdict. Attendence and mobolization this day is ESSENTIAL. Once the jury
is sequestered they must stay together until they determine a verdict. All
the accused and counsel and judge must stay and wait for the jury to
return with a verdict. Jury deliberation could be quick (within a day), or
lengthy, which is likely in this case considering the huge amount of
evidence (more than 250 exhibits, including videos, photographs, and
written material). Sometimes the jury will have to come back to ask a
question of the judge. It is important that supporters stay as long as
possible with the accused. If the jury knows there are a lot of
supportive people waiting with the accused for their verdict, they are
more likely to understand that this is a political trial, not a
criminal matter.


4. Comments of two of the accused:

John Clarke: "The charges that the three of us face have never been about
anything other than trying to criminalize and silence an organization that
has dared to resist the Ontario Tories and the regressive international
agenda they are the local enforcers for. This trial could set the ugliest
precedent and the time to stand up and show your support is now. If we
have the solidarity of the broader movement over the next few days, then
we can only win and those who would silence us can only fail."


Stefan Pilipa: "Its been said that, "the greatest cruelties of our century
have been the impersonal cruelties of remote decision, of system or
routine, especially when they could be justified as regrettable
operational necessities." Eric Hobsbawm could just as easily have been
referring to the remote decisions of Ontarios government bureaucrats,
policy advisors, corporate lobbyists and security forces that have, since
1995, implemented by force the local variant of cut-throat market
liberalization. As night follows day, harsh social and economic policy has
manifested themselves in a growing homeless population and greater poverty
and instability in everyday peoples lives. OCAP has resisted this attack
without apology or compromise from the beginning. The so-called Queens
Park Riot is but one battle in that resistance.

(Gaetan Heroux endorses the comments of his two co-accused, but is too
busy working nights to send along his own.)

**
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
517 College Street, Suite 234 Toronto, Ontario M5G 4A2
416-925-6939 ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca
**
[Ed.
WHAT IS OCAP?
OCAP is a direct-action anti-poverty organization based in Toronto,
Ontario, Canada. We mount campaigns against regressive government
policies as they effect poor and working people. In addition, we
provide direct-action advocacy for individuals against eviction,
termination of welfare benefits, and deportation. We believe in
the power of people to organize themselves. We believe in the
power of resistance.





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