Hereditary Secwépemc Chief Loses Bid and Demands No Jail Time for Trans Mountain Work Delays
One of eight people convicted of criminal contempt for disrupting construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline extension in October 2022 will not be granted a suspended sentence after a judge denied his request that his time spent at a boarding school be granted , to be counted as time served.
Henry Sauls, a Secwépemc hereditary chief who goes by the name of Sawses, was arrested at a construction site in Kamloops on October 15, 2020.
During a sentencing hearing this week for him and five other TMX protesters, the judge was asked to consider the 72-year-old’s traumatic childhood.
Sauls’ attorney, Benjamin Isitt, said his client considered the years he spent at Kamloops Indian Residential School as “incarceration” and that should count as time already served.
BC Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick acknowledged that Saul’s childhood may have been traumatic, but ruled that this had no effect on his decision to break the law when he was challenged for a restraining order approved in June 2018 ordinance and protected a TMX construction site near Mission Flats Road.
After Fitzpatrick sentenced him to 28 days in prison, supporters in the Kamloops courtroom shouted, “This is wrong. There is no justice here” and “Shame on you.”
Crown Prosecutor Neil Wiberg had recommended a 29-day prison sentence because Sauls had to be carried away from the protest site by police, unlike other peaceful protesters who walked away alone.
On Friday, the judge also sentenced 59-year-old Romily Cavanaugh, a former TMX engineer who lives in Vancouver, to 32 days in prison.
She was sentenced to an extra day because she also refused to leave the protest site alone.
Her sentence was extended for three more days because she tied herself to a fence with zip ties and the police had to cut her loose. Fitzpatrick denied Cavanaugh’s request to serve her sentence in three periods between February and June to accommodate her work schedule.
Demonstrators appeal to their beliefs
Outside the courthouse, Isitt said his two clients question their beliefs.
“We will ask the Court of Appeals to review the decision and accept our contention that it was wrongly decided based on the judge’s analysis,” Isitt said.
“We think this is a very strong submission and we will defend it vigorously before the Court of Appeals and, if necessary, up to the Supreme Court of Canada.”
Two other protesters convicted of criminal contempt last year, April Thomas and Jocelyn Pierre, will not be sentenced until May Day.
They have commissioned reports examining how their Indigenous backgrounds are being affected by law enforcement. This became the standard following the 1999 Gladue decision of the Supreme Court of Canada.
One of the four women convicted earlier in the week has been released on bail as she is also appealing.
Miranda Dick, daughter of Henry Sauls, was arrested at another protest in Kamloops on October 17, 2020.
Dick, Susan Bibbings and Laura Zadorozny were each sentenced to 28 days in prison.
Heather Lamoureux, who lives in Vancouver, is serving an extra day because police had to carry her away when she arrested her.
At the start of the hearing this week, some supporters refused to stand up as the judge walked in, as was the customary show of respect.
They were escorted out of the courthouse by sheriffs.
Fitzpatrick also threatened to ban certain supporters from the courtroom if they continued to sing after she demanded silence.