Strange New Twist in Legal Battle Over Mining on First Nations' Land



    Platinex Denies Asking Court to Jail First Nation's Leaders

    THUNDER BAY, ON, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - Chief Donnie Morris and five other
leaders of the were recently held in contempt of a court injunction which
prohibits them from interfering with a mineral exploration program by Platinex
Inc. on KI's territory.
    In a strange development, Platinex released a statement on February 26 in
which they deny seeking the incarceration of KI leaders:
    "Platinex wishes to publicly confirm that Platinex, through its legal
counsel's oral submissions, did not seek incarceration of the KI contemnors.
Certain media reports, some of which appear on the KI website, have
erroneously stated that Platinex requested the contemnors' incarceration.
Indeed, the contemnors' counsel proposed incarceration, instead of monetary
penalties, as the appropriate sentence for the contempt."
    This claim is very odd since the court record clearly shows that lawyers
for Platinex urged the court to jail KI's leaders. Here are excerpts from the
transcript of the sentencing hearing on January 25 in Thunder Bay:

    
    MR. SMITHEMAN (counsel for Platinex): .... These actions cry out for
    stiff sanctions by this court. These are serious, flagrant transgressions
    of the law by persons, from what I can see, who have shown no remorse. By
    their actions the contemnors deserve no quarter, no sympathy from this
    court.
    ....

    We need a remedy. The easy remedy in this situation is an
    order for incarceration, and indeed an order for incarceration until the
    contemnors undertake to comply with this court order.
    ....

    THE COURT: Well, thank you. Let me just ask you one question: you've made
    a reference to an order of incarceration to continue until such time as
    the contemnor has purged their contempt or at least indicated that they
    will comply with the order of the court.

    MR. SMITHEMAN: Yes.

    THE COURT: So are you looking at a range of six to nine months for
    everyone other than Enus McKay and Evelyn Quequish?

    MR. SMITHEMAN: Yes.
    

    The full transcript can be found at:
http://www.kitchenuhmaykoosib.com/id34.html

    In addition, lawyers for Platinex filed written submissions to the court
in which they asked the court to jail KI's leaders. The Notice of Motion of
Platinex can be found at: http://www.kitchenuhmaykoosib.com/id36.html. The
factum (written argument) of Platinex can be found at:
http://www.kitchenuhmaykoosib.com/id37.html
    As recently as February 21 the lawyers for Platinex wrote to Justice
Smith to provide him with precedents for jailing KI's leaders until they agree
to end their opposition to Plantinex's exploration program. A copy of the
February 21 letter can be seen at: http://www.kitchenuhmaykoosib.com/id38.html
    Chief Morris said: "We have no idea why Platinex is now denying that they
want us in jail. We have read their submissions to the court and heard their
lawyers in court on several occasions. Maybe they have a public relations
problem, but they won't fix that by trying to mislead people about what they
are doing. They need to learn to be honest. Maybe they should come and spend
some time with us."
    Chief Donnie Morris and five other members of the community will learn
their fate on March 17. KI is located 600 km north of Thunder Bay.

    The March 17 court proceeding will be at the Superior Court of Justice,
277 Camelot Street in Thunder Bay at 10:00 a.m.

    Links:
    Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Web Site: http://www.kitchenuhmaykoosib.com





For further information:

For further information: Press Contacts: Samuel McKay, Spokesperson,
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, mobile: (807) 629-7266; KI Band Office: (807)
537-2263; Christopher Reid, Legal Counsel for KI and Ardoch Algonquin First
Nation, lawreid@aol.com, (416) 466-9928

Organization Profile

KITCHENUHMAYKOOSIB INNINUWUG (KI) FIRST NATION

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