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TREX against TMX protester gets extra week in jail for courtroom dinosaur “stunt”

Emily Kelsall and Lucy Everett have been handed jail sentences of 28 days and 21 days respectively for donning T-rex costumes and playing badminton inside a Trans Mountain worksite in May.
TREX-TMX
Two women in dinosaur costumes leave a TMX worksite after a game of badminton inside the fence.

Two women who dressed up as dinosaurs and played badminton inside a Burnaby Trans Mountain worksite have both been handed jail sentences for criminal contempt of court.

On May 11, 2022, Emily Kelsall and Lucy Everett donned inflatable Tyrannosaurus rex costumes and scaled a fence at a TMX worksite by an industrial complex in the 8600 block of Commerce Court, according to information presented at a sentencing hearing in Vancouver Supreme Court Friday.

The pair then set up a net and played badminton inside the worksite for 20 to 25 minutes before climbing back over the fence and being arrested on the other side by waiting Burnaby RCMP officers.

Kelsall and Everett were charged with criminal contempt for violating a 2018 court injunction prohibiting people from blocking work on the pipeline and from entering within five metres of TMX worksites.

They pleaded guilty to the charges Friday.

Crown prosecutor Ellen Leno said the dinosaur protest, which she called a “stunt,” breached the injunction in a “public manner.”

A video of the incident was posted on TikTok and the TREXagainstTMX Instagram and Twitter pages and the incident was featured in a Burnaby NOW story.

“The activities were not only observed by individuals in the moment who were on the site and observed the breach, but it’s also been publicized on various platforms on the internet and in the news,” Leno said.

In a joint sentencing submission, Leno and defence lawyer Karen Mirsky, both called for 21-day jail sentences for the women.

Mirsky noted the incidents were non-violent, the women didn’t have criminal records and they had taken responsibility for their actions with early guilty pleas.

But B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick took the unusual step of departing from the joint submission after Kelsall took out a “dinosaur hat” and put it over her head when she was done telling the court about how the urgency of the climate emergency had inspired her actions.

Fitzpatrick cleared the court after the incident drew laughs and cheers from the gallery.

“It is clear that her actions display a deep disrespect for this court and a deep lack of respect for the rule of law,” Fitzpatrick said.

She sentenced Everett to 21 days in jail but Kelsall to 28.

Fitzpatrick also imposed a $1,240 restitution order for the cost of the disruption at the TMX site.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email cnaylor@burnabynow.com