Smoke shack proprietor gets jail time

by Bill Jackson - The Regional

October 13, 2010

A judge sentenced Steven "Boots" Powless to 17 days in prison, less five days served, for continuing to operate an illegal smoke shack on private property for 17 days after being arrested and released on $2,000 recognizance back in the summer of 2009.

Powless, along with his two sons, established the smoke shack on Ernest Palmer's private property on Highway 6 in Caledonia. Palmer lost his property insurance and was charged fur building code violations by the county. Powless and his sons continued to stay uninvited and refused to leave.

On July 7, 2009 the Ontario Provincial Police attempted to remove Powless who called for back-up reinforcements. He was arrested two days later and was released on $2,000 recognizance that ordered him to not go near Mr. Palmer and stay off Palmer's property.

Justice Joseph Nadel confirmed that Powless was at the smoke shop on Palmer's property between Oct. 28 and Nov. 13, 2009, in violation of bail conditions.

In his decision, Nadel stated that being an aboriginal is not a get-out-or-jail-free card. He also noted that Powless was willing to accept the benefits of the Canadian Justice system, but not its obligations, and that Powless is an aboriginal Canadian, subject to Canadian law.

Powless's failure to comply with bail conditions occurred while under two other conditional discharges by the court. He was also found guilty of mischief in relation to a protest at the Hampton Inn construction site in Brantford in 2009.

Powless served five months in prison for sexual assault in 1991. In 1994, he was convicted for dangerous driving.