Prosecution and defence lawyers fail to agree on appropriate sentencing
The penalties for five Squamish men who pleaded guilty to one charge each in the destruction of a protest camp in the Elaho Valley on Sept. 15, 1999, wont be known until Jan. 4.
The five, all employees or under contract to Interfor, were supposed to have been sentenced on Dec. 7, but the date was pushed back as lawyers for the prosecution and defence argued over appropriate sentences.
Crown counsel Herb Chambers asked for suspended sentences with one year of probation for all five men. He also asked for restitution for damaged camping gear, community service hours, and recommended the men undergo anger management training. He also suggested court orders barring any future contact with the eight victims of the attack.
Chambers reasoned that it was premeditated, motivated by hatred, and organized at some level within the company, a claim that the victims have been making all along.
While the environmentalists concede that the level of frustration was high among loggers and that a number of workers had lost wages as a result of protest actions, the fact that there were between 70 and 100 loggers in an area usually only occupied by a half dozen loggers still needed to be addressed.
Chambers also brought up evidence of previous attacks, dating as far back as 1997, to refute the defences claim that the attack was just an isolated incident.
Following an investigation, the RCMP charged all five men, employees or contracted employees of Interfor, with assault and mischief under $5,000. The men were identified are Donald Whayne Kulak, 53, Richard James, 44, Alexander Stephen MacLeod, 23, Thomas Edward Lloyd, 40, and Leslie Leroy Zohner, 35. Lloyd and James were also charged with uttering a threat.
Lloyd, Zohner, Kulak and MacLeod pleaded guilty to the mischief charges as part of a plea bargain; James alone pleaded guilty to assault.