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A. Cameron Ward
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Law Society AGM adjourned

September 22, 2003 in Opinion

The Law Society of British Columbia attempted to hold its Annual General Meeting on Friday, September 19, 2003, but the meeting was adjourned due to technical difficulties before the substantive business could be conducted. The agenda included a series of practice fee resolutions addressing the issue of whether B.C. lawyers should be compelled to pay fees to the Canadian Bar Association. The Law Society has now announced that the AGM will be continued on October 27, 2003.

The issue of mandatory CBA fee payment is contentious, and at least five B.C. lawyers have taken the Law Society to B.C. Supreme Court over the matter since 1982. The latest to do so, Richard Gibbs, Q.C., a past president of the Law Society, is awaiting a reserved judgment on the question. New Brunswick is currently the only jurisdiction in Canada that still compels lawyers to join the CBA.

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Hyatt civil trial adjourned

September 22, 2003 in News

The trial of the civil cases brought by four Vancouver residents against the Vancouver Police Department in respect of the so-called “Riot at the Hyatt” has been adjourned generally. The trial was to have commenced September 22, 2003 and was expected to last some eight to ten weeks, since the Defendants planned to call about 70 police officers as witnesses. All of the plaintiffs claimed that they were unlawfully assaulted by members of the VPD’s Crowd Control Unit outside the Hyatt Hotel on December 8, 1998.

Meanwhile, an ‘external’ investigation by the New Westminster Police Department into the affair, at the direction of the Office of the Police Complaint Commission, is set to wrap up no later than November 27, 2003. It has taken the OPCC almost five years to deal with the complaints of police brutality filed after the Hyatt incident. Our clients are cooperating fully with the investigation.

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In a judgment released today, Mr. Justice Harvey of the B.C. Supreme Court has found 75 year old author and activist Betty Krawczyk guilty of criminal contempt of court for her actions in standing on a logging road when a court order forbade anyone from doing so. The judge rejected her procedural and Charter of Rights challenges to the injunction/contempt process. Ms. Krawczyk is in her 108th day of custody at the Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women. No date has been set for sentencing and Ms. Krawczyk is considering an appeal.

Read the judgment

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The B.C. Supreme Court has indicated that the Honourable Mr. Justice Harvey will deliver his judgment with respect to Betty Krawczyk on October 8, 2003.

At trial, lawyer Cameron Ward advanced Charter and procedural arguments, opposed the Crown’s submission that Ms. Krawczyk be convicted for criminal contempt of court, and sought her outright release. Ms. Krawczyk, a 75 year-old great grandmother, author and environmental activist, enters her 105th day of imprisonment today awaiting disposition of the case. She has not been charged with a Criminal Code offence, but instead faces allegations by the Attorney General of British Columbia that she defied an Order of the Court made in a civil lawsuit commenced by Hayes Forest Services.

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The trial of Betty Krawczyk on allegations that she violated a Court Order made in a civil case initiated by Hayes Forest Services (a Weyerhauser subcontractor) ended Friday, September 12, 2003. Mr. Justice Harvey of the Supreme Court of British Columbia has reserved judgment. Ms. Krawczyk, a 75 year old great-grandmother, environmentalist and author, was arrested on May 8, 2003 and has spent a total of 103 days in jail awaiting disposition of her case.

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