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G20 activist released on $140,000 bail with extreme conditions

by Justin Saunders


One of the three G20 arrestees remaining in custody has been released from a courtroom in North Toronto tonight, after more than a month in prison.

Amanda Hiscocks, a community organizer in Guelph, is among 17 people facing conspiracy charges stemming from the police crackdown on G20 dissent. She and several other prominent activists were pre-emptively detained in violent, early morning raids on several Toronto homes prior to the demonstrations on June 26th.

She was released on bail totalling $140,000 and has been placed under house arrest with family in Ottawa until trial.

As part of the conditions of her release, Hiscocks is under strict surveillance by her sureties and police, is not allowed access to a cell phone, pager or any other device with wireless connectivity, cannot organize, plan or attend public demonstrations (a breach of her charter rights), have contact with her co-accused or associate with anyone who is a part of No One Is Illegal (NOII), Anti-War at Laurier (AW@L) or the Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance (SOAR). 

The details of the proceedings have been placed under a publication ban.


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181 words

Comments

What was the charge!?

What actions motivated this sentence?

Not a sentence

These are pre-trial bail conditions. They remain in force until she is either convicted and sentenced or the charges are dismissed.

the charges -

Most of the charges that I saw on the dockets for the G20 were for "Conspiracy to commit Mischief" - I'm not sure about Amanda's.

Charter rights

With all due respect, not being allowed to plan or attend public demonstrations is not a breach of charter rights when one is under "arrest", even house arrest.

 

So Alex

Even before she's tried or convicted of anything our Charter doesn't allow for her to maintain her rights to assembly, association, free speech, etc.? Is that a regime you think we defend? 

What a joke of a justice

What a joke of a justice system.  Such a high bail for charges that will be dropped.

What the Law Says

While I'm not a lawyer, I have done some legal defence for activists facing criminal charges (though nothing like this).  My understanding is that when it comes to our "Charter Rights", they may be "lawfully" suspended when a person has merely been charged with an offence.  In fact, such restrictions are routinely applied in non-political cases.  For example, though the Charter supposedly gives us freedom of movement, bail conditions often include "no go zones" where defendants are forbidden from entering certain geographic areas, such as when a person is accused of committing a theft or assault in a particular area, they may be banned from entering that area.  Such restrictions will apply until the conclusion of criminal proceedings.

We also have the "right" to drink alcohol, if we so choose.  It is also not "illegal" to have used cannabis or other illicit drugs, providing one does not possess them.  However, criminal defendants who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their arrest may be forbidden to use alcohol or non-prescription drugs as a condition of their release.  "Compliance" is determined through regular and mandatory breath and blood testing.

Incidentally, whether or not a person is found "guilty" (or even if the charges are eventually dismissed or dropped) is legally irrelevant.  Courts and Judges fully expect their orders to be obeyed and those found to have "breached" their bail release convictions may face additional criminal charges, even in those cases where all the initial charges which led to those conditions in the first place have been dropped due to lack of evidence.  This in fact happened a number of years ago to one of two members of CLAC.

There is a legal principle which goes something like "you can file your appeals now, but in the meantime, you must follow the rules".  When I was a trade union activist, this was explained to me as "work now; grieve later", so that if your employer tells you to scrub the floors and wash the toilets before you go home and it's not part of your job description, the legal course of action is to file a grievance with your union, but in the meantime, well, go get the bucket and mop!  The only exception is if doing so may endanger your health or safety (while saying "no" to your employer as you head out the door could very well result in losing your job even if you win your appeal).

Another example: a friend who is a mental health advocate told me about a case where a man was unlawfully committed to a psychiatric institution.  While inside, he rebelled by refusing to "follow orders" so he was subject to various sanctions such as solitary confinement and restraints.  The Judge in this case ruled that while the involuntary committal had been unlawful, the coercive actions of the institution were not.  In other words, regardless of the actual legality of his confinement, once inside, the man had an obligation to follow the rules as determined by the institution (the same would have applied if he'd been wrongly convicted of a crime and sent to prison).

As to whether or not this is a "regime that should be defended", that is a moral and political question, though not a legal one (however, the answer, at least to those of us who believe in a world of social and economic justice, should be obvious).

It is entirely possible that all the charges against these 17 defendants will be dropped due to lack of evidence.  In the meantime, however, they have been "lawfully" taken their comrades, friends and communities and our movements will not be able to benefit from their experience, expertise and commitment, which is the real motivation behind these trumped up and politically contrived charges.  

"What the Law Says"   I

"What the Law Says"

 

I really enjoyed reading through that description of circumstance. I am also not a lawyer, but work in the criminal justice field. Nothing upsets the judges more than breaking what's called section 145(3) Failure to Comply with Order of the Criminal Code.

These individuals/activists should stop complaining about their rights and freedoms and begin building a defense for when this inevitably comes to trial. If they win the court case, then they'll be pretty happy they didn't breach any of their pre-trial conditions of release. If they did breach them, then they'll have a few separate court dates to deal with involving further criminal charges.

My guess is that she won't be

My guess is that she won't be tried so that these bail restrictions will keep for as long as possible and they won't even pursue charges because these restrictions are worse than a sentence, and they know she won't be convicted anyhow.

Just to clarify - as pointed

Just to clarify - as pointed out by Vancouver Anonymous - while Charter rights can be legally suspended in imposing bail conditions the fact remains that this is still a Charter breach. Typically, the question from a Court's perspective is whether or not the breach of the Charter is *justified*.

Sending letters?

Does anyone know where to send letters/cards/etc of support to the conspiracy defendants - either particular folks or generally?  I don't have much money to spare, but in my experience, writing is another meaningful means of support.  Thanks!

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY COMMENT

I don't appreciate writing a short essay and seeing it disappear. Thank you.

ATTACKING PEACEFUL MARCHERS WAS A POLICE CRIME

Aside from attacking peaceful marchers at Queen's Park, the place designated in advance by the police for quiet, secure speeches, rallies, etc., and aside from firing rubber bullets at people hemmed in helplessly between lines of kettling police, banging shields in some kind of Nazi burlesque routine -- here we have Amanda arrested in a private home BEFORE THE G20 EVER EVEN STARTED -- on the presumption that her group was planning mischief. Later that day, Black Bloc thugs, UNDER FULL POLICE SURVEILLANCE FROM HELICOPTER AND STREET CAMERAS, were allowed to burn those cruisers left as props in the major intersection, as we all witnessed, with no policemen on the scene. They had all been directed elsewhere.  Sigh. Perfect photo op.  It's high time the public just turned off the government spin and started to sign petitions en masse for heads to roll, from Ontario to Ottawa.

Sending letters? Folks are being asked to write to her, & send

pictures of the outside:
Kelly Rose Pflug-Back
Vanier Centre for Women
P.O. Box 1040
655 Martin Street
Milton, ON L9T 5E6

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