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G20 Defendants Hundert and Hiscocks to Challenge “No Demonstration” Condition

Alex Hundert and Amanda Hiscocks to represent themselves in legal challenge against bail condition barring participation in public meetings

by Community Solidarity Network


June 23, 2011, Toronto--This morning, two G20 defendants, Alex Hundert and Amanda Hiscocks will be attending the Ontario Superior Court at 361 University Ave at 10am to file for a bail review hearing where they will contest the constitutionality of a bail condition that has been used to prevent G20 defendants from exercising their freedoms of speech, expression and assembly; effectively barring them from participating in their own communities.

The wording of the bail condition states that they should “not plan for, assist in planning for, attend at or participate in any public demonstrations.” Since these conditions were first handed down last July, a Justice of the Peace has ruled that a demonstration should be understood as meaning any “public meeting... expressing views on a political issue.”

“This imposition of broad ‘no protest’ bail conditions is a very troubling practise and one that is in desperate need of review by the courts,” said Cara Zwibel, Director of the Fundamental Freedoms Program for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).

“Many fundamental rights and freedoms were infringed during the G20, and we are still feeling the effects of those violations. We hope that this application will clarify and affirm that all Canadians—including those expressing dissent—have the freedom to speak out, associate with one another, and peacefully assemble,” Zwibel said.

Hundert and Hiscocks are among 17 people still co-accused with “conspiracy” charges relating to last year’s G20 protests. The two, along with Leah Henderson were arrested in a violent pre-dawn raid on June 26 last year—before that day’s protests even started. While still retaining counsel on the “conspiracy” and other related charges, they will be representing themselves before the Superior Court on this matter.

“Not everyone can afford a lawyer, and Legal Aid is becoming harder and harder to get in Ontario. Poor people are criminalized for being poor and find themselves in the courts without legal representation on a regular basis.  The courts need to become accessible to people who are forced to defend themselves, and the only way to get them to change is to go in and do it ourselves whenever we can,” said Hiscocks.

Ever since their arrest last summer, Hundert and Hiscocks have maintained that the policing and repressive tactics employed during the G20 are common practise in many targeted communities across the city. “While the response to G20 protests has forefronted the criminalization of dissent, there is actually an ongoing criminalization and use of violent tactics against immigrants and refugees, Indigenous people, queer and trans people, and people living in poverty,” said Hiscocks.

The Community Solidarity Network (CSN), a group formed out of the anti-G20 mobilizations to support all those facing G20 related charges maintains that same stance. Yogi Acharya of the CSN added, “It is clear that the ‘no demonstration’ condition is being used by the Crown and the police to silence activists and community organizers and to isolate them from their own communities.”

“These conditions are being used as a deterrent aimed not just at those who face these charges, but at the general public. The fact that they are being implemented despite the flagrant violation of fundamental rights is something that should concern every single one of us,” continued Acharya.

Alex Hundert, who at one point was under a court ordered media gag but is now free to talk to the press, said that, “Now is an important time to assert our fundamental right to participate in the politics of our own communities, when the impacts of the austerity agenda are being felt increasingly every day in neighbourhoods across the city.”

“When cities can be militarized to protect the agenda of the powerful and wealthy as happened last year in Toronto, when elected officials are willing to cut services and programs depended upon by poor people while protecting profits for banks and corporations, people need to organize to protect themselves and their communities, and to fight back,” said Hundert.

The bail review hearing will be scheduled for July 28, on the one year anniversary of Hiscocks’ first day of freedom after being released from Vanier Centre for Women last year.

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Comments

Police Riot G20

G20 Trials and the War on Activism

 

It is no coincidence the people facing the most serious charges with the most restrictive bail conditions are among the most effective organizers in this country.  They are precisely the people who build bridges across traditionally separate communities and constituencies, finding common ground where there was often antipathy before.

 

http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2010/11/g20-trials-and-war-activism

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