Two criminal cases involving the same group of Indigenous protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project are expected to go to trial soon after numerous delays.
Eight protesters with the Secwépemc Unity Group to Stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline are facing criminal contempt charges for allegedly breaching a court-ordered injunction against protests on Trans Mountain worksites, dating back to Oct. 15 and Oct. 17, 2020.
Their trials were originally scheduled to proceed last August, but have been adjourned multiple times.
In August, the protesters, who are representing themselves, applied to adjourn the proceedings in recognition of impacts from wildfire evacuation alerts, with trial dates rescheduled for Nov. 15 and Dec. 13.
April Thomas, who is one of the eight accused, told KTW the defence had the November trial adjourned again, saying they were still waiting on disclosure documents from Crown, and successfully had the December trial postponed due to the current state of emergency and road closures in the province.
Many of the accused reside in the Lower Mainland, which was cut off from Kamloops due to unprecedented mid-November flooding that washed out roads. The November trial was scheduled to be held on Nov. 15, the second day of the destructive rainstorms.
The two trials are now rescheduled for Jan. 17 for the Oct. 15, 2020, incident and March 21 for the events that occurred on Oct. 17, 2020.
Susan Bibbings, Miranda Dick, Heather Lamoureux and Laura Zadorozny are charged with criminal contempt for protesting at a gate at a project worksite near Kamloops Airport during work hours on Oct. 17, 2020.
Romily Cavanaugh, Henry Sauls (also known as Secwépemc hereditary Chief Sawses), Thomas and Jocelyn Pierre are charged with criminal contempt in connection with a protest that occurred during work hours at a Trans Mountain construction site on Oct. 15, 2020.
Video taken of the protest posted to social media appeared to show Pierre and Thomas atop an excavator on the south side of Mission Flats Road just west of the Domtar pulp mill, refusing to leave, while Cavanaugh and Sauls appeared to have chained themselves to the gate of the Mission Flats work site.