After describing herself as a ‘political prisoner’, Betty Krawczyk concluded her sentencing submissions with the words ‘lock me up or let me go’.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Harvey chose the former, sentencing the 75 year old environmental activist to six more months in jail for criminal contempt of court. The judge declined to give Ms. Krawczyk credit for the 4 1/2 months she had already served in jail.

Imediately after the sentencing hearing, a group of her supporters blocked traffic at the intersection of Hornby and Nelson streets in downtown Vancouver. After a few minutes, police arrived and arrested and removed six persons. Charges of mischief under the Criminal Code are apparently pending. Ironically, Ms. Krawczyk had argued that her conduct in blocking a public forestry road should have attracted an arrest on mischief charges, rather than contempt of court proceedings.

Ms. Krawczyk was arrested on May 8, 2003 after refusing to move off a public logging road in the Walbran Valley, contrary to the terms of a court order made in a civil lawsuit brought by a Weyerhaeuser subcontractor. In British Columbia, political demonstrators are usually dealt with pursuant to the Attorney General’s policy of encouraging companies to seek civil remedies, which can then be escalated into contempt proceedings. By proceeding in this fashion, the criminal law safeguards of the Criminal Code do not apply and there are no statutory sentencing guidelines.

Several judges of the British Columbia Supreme Court and Court of Appeal have criticized the Attorney General for its ‘officially induced abuse of process’, but the criticism has not yet been heeded.

Ms. Krawczyk has appealed her conviction to the Court of Appeal. No hearing date has yet been set.