Charges dropped against Caledonia Eight, but OPP undeterred

by Mark Vandermaas (Caledonia 8) - The Regional

February 8, 2012

On Friday (Feb 03/12) all charges against the Caledonia Eight – arrested Dec 03/11 for ‘trespassing’ on a county road running through the occupied Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia – were dropped by the specially-chosen prosecutor brought in to handle the cases.

The McGuinty government had threatened to arrest non-native protesters who attempted to enter the natives-only ‘no go zone’ which even the OPP cannot enter without permission from the occupiers. Eight of us lined up, one-by-one, to be arrested for refusing to obey the OPP’s order to leave the road known as Surrey Street.

The prosecutor, after reviewing the property deed supplied by Gary McHale showing that we were standing on a county-owned road, and not on the racially-segregated, provincially-owned land, informed the judge that he was withdrawing the charge because there was “no reasonable prospect of conviction.”

In court showing their support for the Caledonia Eight were a number of Caledonia residents and three members of the Hamilton-based Never Again Group.   

We moved to the entrance lobby where various journalists interviewed Gary McHale, and then moved outside so they could take our picture.

This was a stunning defeat for the government and OPP who have been eager to find any pretext under which to target and arrest non-native protesters in order to appease native occupiers. With his latest arrest on Jan 27th Gary McHale has now been arrested 5 times and had 3 criminal charges laid all of which have been withdrawn by the Crown before trial.