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Another court date set for "Caledonia 8"

Jennifer Vo
Published on Jan 10, 2012 Sachem

Despite pleas for an earlier trial date, the "Caledonia 8" will have to continue to wait before they can argue their case in court.

Eight members of the Canadian Advocates for Chartered Equality (CANACE) made their first appearance in Cayuga court on January 6 to face trespassing charges.

Gary McHale, founder of CANACE subpoenaed three OPP officers and Mayor Ken Hewitt as witnesses to testify in court that day.

All three officers appeared, but a County representative stood in Hewitt's place. McHale asked the judge to issue an arrest warrant for Hewitt for his absence in court, but the judge denied the request.

"I have to make a decision whether or not I will appeal [the judge's] decision and whether or not I will proceed with trying to get [Hewitt] charged on that," said McHale after the hearing.

The judge replied to McHale's request by saying that summons to appear in court are usually issued for a trial when there are evidence and disclosures available.

The judge recommended that McHale resubmit the documents to summon his witnesses when the trial date is set, and McHale asked the judge why the trial couldn't take place that day.

"I have a chartered right to have a fast case," said McHale.

He said he's been in court before where the trials have been delayed for months, and asked the judge for an earlier trial date.

"I was ready to go. My witnesses were here. I subpoenaed them. I've got the evidence in my folder here," said McHale. "The prosecutor is not ready and the OPP are not ready."

The judge adjourned the hearing stating the Crown needed to get more disclosure on the case. The "Caledonia 8" will have to appear in court again on February 3 at 1:00 p.m. where they should expect to receive a trial date.

On December 3, OPP officers arrested the eight defendants for trespassing on Douglas Creek Estates after being warned by officers. The eight defendants denied the claims.

"We were on a county road," said McHale after the hearing. "They know full well we were on a county road. This is all stalling and stalling and stalling to put some sort of punishment on us because we have to appear in court on a regular basis when they know full well the court will never convict us of anything. This is what they have been doing for six years."