First Nations Leadership Council welcomes BC Supreme Court Decision Regarding evidence in the Frank Paul Inquiry



    COAST SALISH TERRITORY/VANCOUVER, BC, June 24 /CNW/ - The First Nations
Leadership Council is pleased with today's decision by Mr. Justice Melnick in
the Supreme Court of BC to provide the Commissioner in the Frank Paul Inquiry
the full ability to review Criminal Justice Branch (CJB) documents pertaining
to the Paul case and if necessary, require individuals who were with the CJB
at the time of Mr. Paul's death to give evidence.
    In his decision, Mr. Justice Melnick states;

    
        However, in my view, in the narrow and possibly unique circumstances
        here, if the written expression of the will of the Lieutenant
        Governor in Council and of the Attorney General has not been
        effective in waiving both Crown immunity and solicitor-client
        privilege, then the result is manifestly unfair to the public in
        general and to a significant group of interested citizens, namely the
        Aboriginal population and the Paul family.

        The Aboriginal population and the Paul family placed their trust in
        the Crown, as represented by the Government of British Columbia and
        the Attorney General, to provide them with the truth about the events
        surrounding the death of Mr. Paul. From what was said to me by
        counsel at this hearing, they have confidence in the Commissioner.
        Is there an honourable way out of this impasse for everyone? I have
        concluded that the answer lies in the concept of the honour of the
        Crown.
    

    The First Nations Leadership Council is calling on the Attorney General
of BC and the Criminal Justice Branch to immediately act on this decision and
allow William Davies, Commissioner of the Frank Paul Inquiry immediate access
to all pertinent documents and witnesses and allow him to conclude his
inquiry.
    Frank Joseph Paul, a Mi'kmaq man, died of hypothermia in December 1998
shortly after being released by the Vancouver police department into an east
Vancouver alley.
    The First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, BC Assembly of First
Nations and other BC Aboriginal organizations have always believed that the
surviving family and relatives of Mr. Paul deserve to know exactly how and why
Mr. Paul died, as does the B.C. public. We have clearly maintained that the
unusual circumstances surrounding his death require further investigation
which includes the full disclosure of all pertinent evidence and testimony in
the case.
    The First Nations Leadership Council ultimately hopes the on-going public
inquiry will provide recommendations on provincial policing practices
involving, and relating to First Nations and Aboriginal peoples, as well as
reconciliation measures between First Nations and the Crown in the area of
policing.

    The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political
executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the
Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
    The Council works together to politically represent the interests of
First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring
about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will
benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.





For further information:

For further information: Grand Chief Edward John, Political Executive,
First Nations Summit: (778) 772-8218; Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President,
UBCIC: (250) 490-5314; Ryneld Starr, Communications Coordinator, BC Assembly
of First Nations: (604) 922-7733

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FIRST NATIONS LEADERSHIP COUNCIL

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