PEMBERTON - A native blockade court case will be expanded to hear arguments on the court's authority over Lil'wat Indians, provincial court Judge Keith Libby has ruled.
He accepted a motion from native rights lawyer Bruce Clark, who said the Lil'wat consider themselves a sovereign people with their own land over which the B.C. government and courts have no jurisdiction.
"I think it is not unreasonable to allow a litigant a great deal of latitude, at least in the beginning," Libby said over objections from the Crown.
He also agreed to spend time with Clark and the native community to become more familiar with the issues they are trying to present, as well as receive written and audio-visual submissions from the Lil'wat before ruling on the case.
Nine members of the Lil'wat from nearby Mount Currie were charged with obstruction and assaulting police during a February 1991 blockade to stop construction of a logging road at Ure Creek on land the Indians say is a sacred burial ground.
Libby adjourned the case until April 15, when Clark is supposed to tell him how much time is needed to prepare the necessary material for the jurisdictional argument.