Canada denies American request in prosecuting Ontario protestorshttp://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=1135867TORONTO -- Canadian justice officials have refused a request to help American prosecutors build their case against two aboriginal men facing criminal charges in the United States stemming from an incident on Canadian soil.
Trevor Miller, 32, and Albert Douglas, 32, of Six Nations in Ontario, face allegations they assaulted three U.S. law enforcement agents visiting as official observers and stole their government-owned SUV during a confrontation in Caledonia, Ont., in the summer of 2006.
In court papers filed in New York state, Asst. U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., said Canada "declined" a request under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty for access "to physical evidence, forensic analysis, and witnesses in that country's possession."
Calls and e-mails to the Department of Justice in Ottawa were not returned.
The documents were filed in December in response to a motion by Miller's lawyer who is seeking to have the case dismissed citing "double jeopardy" and jurisdictional issues.
Assistant Federal Defender John Humann argues Miller has already been prosecuted, convicted and sentenced in Canada for the "exact same charges" for which he has been indicted in the U.S.
Moreover, he asserts the U.S. law enforcement officials were not acting in an official capacity and had "no business" being in Canada.
Miller pleaded guilty in Ontario in May 2007 to theft and assault charges in connection with the incident. He spent more than six months in jail before being sentenced to time served, but was arrested by U.S. authorities last April while crossing the border into Minnesota.
If convicted in the U.S. the men could face a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison for each assault count, 10 years for theft and a fine of $250,000, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In court papers, the U.S. government said "double jeopardy" only prohibits successive prosecutions by the same sovereign and "does not bar federal prosecution following proceedings in foreign courts."
In addition, elements of the U.S. prosecution differ from the Canadian prosecution, the government said, noting the charges involve assault of a government employee working in their official capacity.
According to a criminal complaint, two U.S. border patrol agents and a special agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were being escorted on a "tour" by an Ontario Provincial Police detective for the "purposes of observing" the Six Nations reserve in June 2006.
When they attempted to drive out of a cul-de-sac near the reserve they were confronted by a group of 15 protesters including Miller who was allegedly carrying a sheathed knife and demanded the officers get out of their vehicle, according to the complaint.
The OPP detective instructed the American law enforcement agents to comply with the demands, the documents said.
Miller allegedly advanced toward one of the officers "and began to pull the knife out of the sheath" before one of the agents karate chopped him on the collarbone and neck, court documents said.
At the same time, Douglas got into the driver's seat and tried to drive off, injuring the OPP officer who fell from the vehicle to the pavement, the prosecution maintains.
The SUV was recovered from the Six Nations reserve several hours later but was deemed unsafe to return to patrol duties, according to the complaint.
A judge in Buffalo will hear oral arguments Jan. 16 on the defence motion to dismiss the charges.
1) The OPP had an agreement that there would be no surveillance at the boundaries of the site, especially at the front gates.
2) The ATF surveillance vehicle and US Border Patrol officers WERE DOING SURVEILLANCE FOR THEIR OWN PURPOSES at the gate, in violation of the agreement. When they were chased away from there, they went to another border ('O-Town') and tried to continue surveillance there, again in violation of the agreement. They were again prevented from doing so.
3) Trevor threatened the officers, but the US officers attacked him violently. This is not in keeping with Canadian police protocols in place at that time. The US ATF are accustomed to repressing Indigenous protests with violence. In Canada Indigenous Peoples have legal rights under the Constitution, so the police are more circumspect.
4) I think we should charge the US Border Services and ATF with invading Canada. They were not here to assist, but to cause trouble.