100 MILE HOUSE, B.C. - After waiting two hours for Judge Barnette, the hearing of the pleas finally began for the Ts'peten Defenders. The small courtroom full of supporters, having already passed through the arms detector at the door which were under the strict supervision of seven armed sheriffs.
William Ignace immediately brought up the main issue for the Defenders, the question of jurisdiction. Simply put, if Canada has no jurisdiction over the land and aboriginal people in question, then arresting and incarcerating the Defenders is an act that places the court in complicity with the genocide agenda that has driven Canadian colonialist policy towards the aboriginal peoples for the past 150 years. Since Canada's jurisdiction over land never ceded by the aboriginals is questionable according to Canadian law, the Judicial system has always felt extremely threatened by having the jurisdiction question brought up in court.
During William Ignace's speech (which an observer termed excellent) Judge Barnette frequently interrupted by pointing out that these were not matters to be dealt with today. When asked about the publication ban, Judge Barnette stated that there was no publication ban on this hearing. "We are here to set a date for a preliminary hearing." he says. Although the usual procedure is to set the date at the earliest time available, the Crown is stalling for a later date as there may be more charges and not all the particulars are there. Judge Barnette was critical of the time the Crown was taking and said "...one must not get the impression that this matter is considered as something less than urgent." William Ignace protested that not only was there no jurisdiction but serious doubt that charges like attempted murder can be proven and asked once again for Dr. Bruce Clark to represent him. Judge Barnette made it clear that the most involvement the Courts will allow Dr. Clark is a seat in the audience. As William Ignace (aka Wolverine) continued to try to get across the idea that an international tribunal is the only way to guarantee an unbiased investigation and verdict, the Judges lost patience especially when Mr. Ignace makes a comment about Attorney General Dosanjj being a "diaper head". This statement seems to have suddenly made the Judge aware of the dangers of racism and he ordered the father and son removed from the courtroom. When JoJo attempted to help his father, he was knocked to the ground and beaten. The supporters in the audience rose to their feet and one of the armed sheriffs responded by drawing his gun. Lawyer Robin Smith asked someone to call 911 and that the father and son receive immediate medical attention. Despite bleeding cuts to JoJo's head and internal pain no medical care was provided. "I am ashamed to be a Canadian citizen" said one of the non-native women outside.
When court re-convened in the afternoon, William and his son JoJo appeared in handcuffs. The date for the preliminary hearing was set for March 13 and William tried one more time to address jurisdiction - "Your domestic law doesn't apply here". At least ten of the defendants ask for Dr. Bruce Clark as their lawyer even after the Judge tells them that Dr. Clark will be no one's lawyer. Since "nobody has a lawyer", Judge Barnette then suggested that the Crown send all the material to each of the defendants.
Outside, the Great Spirit slowly covered the entire misery of the area with ten inches of clean snow.