NAN calls for justice and accountability in haircutting incident



    THUNDER BAY, ON, May 25 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Executive
Council is calling on the Attorney General to review the police investigation
and the action of the Crown Attorney for the Thunder Bay region following the
decision not to lay charges in the case of the teacher's assistant who cut a
7-year-old First Nation student's hair without his consent.
    "Nishnawbe Aski Nation wants an explanation of the circumstances that led
to their decision not to lay charges against the teacher's assistant who
violated the child and traumatized him when she cut off his hair off," said
Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.
    NAN is concerned about both the processes and decisions made by the
Thunder Bay Police Service in its investigations and the regional Crown in
their assessment of the situation.
    A May 23 Globe and Mail article reported that police in Thunder Bay say
it was the Crown's decision not to file charges of assault; a spokesman for
the Attorney General said it's police who decide whether to lay a charge, not
the Crown.
    "What we have now is confusion as the Thunder Bay Police say the
responsibility for charges rests with the Crown and the Ministry of the
Attorney General saying the responsibility rests with the Thunder Bay Police,"
said Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose. "First they claimed it wasn't in the
public interest, and now for the first time, without ever having consulted
with the child's parents, they say it's 'to avoid re-victimizing the child.'
How can they claim this as a defense when they've already obtained a video
statement from him?"
    Only a full examination by the Ministry of the Attorney General of the
police investigation and Crown Attorney's charge assessment will solve the
issue, Fiddler says.
    Julian Falconer, a lawyer for the child's family, has stated
unequivocally that cutting the child's hair without his consent constitutes an
assault.

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario
portion of Treaty 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.





For further information:

For further information: Joyce Hunter, A/Director of Communication,
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952 or (807) 472-5638 mobile

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NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION

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