25 years ago today I was on my way to jail.
December 7, 1988
Environmentalist must go to jail on contempt count;
Environmental activist gets 20 days for contempt
An environmental activist must serve 20 days in jail for contempt of court after interfering last June with work on a new logging road at the edge of Clayoquot Sound.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice John Bouck reminded the defendant Tuesday of the words he spoke at the outset of the trial.
“I have nothing but contempt for this court,” the judge quoted the defendant, Brian Salmi, as saying.
The judge said the proceedings that followed were largely irrelevant.
Justice Bouck also slammed the defendant’s lawyer, Robert Moore-Stewart, saying he had “played to the public gallery for attention” at a November hearing. And he criticized Moore-Stewart for failing to attend his client’s sentencing.
In June, the B.C. Supreme Court granted B.C.Forest Products an injunction that prohibited anyone from interfering with the construction of the B.C. government-authorized logging road on provincial Crown land. The protest site was an old-growth forest at Sulphur Passage, north of Tofino on Vancouver Island.
An environmental group called the Friends of Clayoquot Sound had earlier asked B.C. Forests Minister Dave Parker for a moratorium on logging around the scenic sound, but received no reply from the minister. The group continued to organize protests at the end of the logging road after the injunction was issued in June.
Forest company spokesman Stu Clugston said in an interview Tuesday 28 people were cited for contempt of court and five went to jail.
“We hate to see people go to jail over this issue,” said Clugston, a spokesman for Fletcher Challenge Canada, which bought BCFP. “We see no pleasure in it.”
Clugston said road construction has ceased because of bad weather and so the company can consider public comments for a revised logging plan.
During sentencing, the judge complained that Moore-Stewart had failed to appear for Salmi’s sentencing Tuesday and of another defendant accused of contempt of court.
The judge said he wanted to put Moore-Stewart’s conduct on the record, but did not announce any further action.
Moore-Stewart, contacted later at his Victoria office, said he had given Salmi and others free legal counsel because he believed in their cause. Moore-Stewart said he did not attend the sentencings because “there was nothing further to do” and he had not been asked.
Salmi had failed to appear for his last court appearance and was arrested by police Monday and kept in custody for Tuesday’s sentencing.
He told the judge he was under the impression that he was appearing with other protesters on another day and had made “a simple honest mistake” in failing to appear.
Justice Bouck said he didn’t believe the excuse.
The judge said Salmi’s behavior had made it “obvious that he has no respect for the law . . . . He seems to think he’s a law unto himself.”
Here’s the real story that the Vancouver Sun didn’t want its readers to know
excerpted from Rhino history, other lies and all that jazz
As the campaign enters its final week, Vancouver South candidate Brian Godzilla Salmi finds himself in a NanaimoBC courtroom. The big green lizard thing – along with some two dozen others who thumbed their noses at a court ordered injunction to not disrupt logging road construction into Clayoquat Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island – stands charged with contempt of court (five years later Clayoquat Summer would become Canada’s largest ever case of civil disobedience when more than 800 people are arrested for blockading the roads that Zilla, Slow Buffalo and company tried to prevent the building of).
When arrested, Zilla and Rhino buddy Big Chief Slow Buffalo tell RCMP officers their names are Ford Prefect and Zaphod Beeblebrox
When the court denies the accused the right to be tried separately, commentators denounce the coming circus as a “Soviet style show trial.” Crown counsel estimates the trial will last five full days. Zilla requests da judge sever his trial from the rest of his co-accused, explaining that he is a candidate in the ongoing election, and having to spend five days in court would seriously interfere with his constitutionally guaranteed right to stand for office.
Hizzounour asks Zilla what party he is running for. The pissed off lizard answers by asking, “What difference does that make?” and launching into a blistering lecture about all men being equal before the courts, which are supposed to be blind. Zilla further points out that a Conservative MP, who had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar just months after his election in 1984, had, with the help of Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa, manipulated the legal system so that he would not be tried prior to, or during, the current campaign.
Da judge is unimpressed and asks, “Guilty or not guilty.”
Zilla answers, “You’re right, I’m guilty as charged. I have nothing but contempt for you and your stinking court,” and scampers gleefully back across the GeorgiaStrait to rejoin the party… er, campaign.
Weeks later Zilla is sentenced to 20 days in jail. All the others are sentenced to five days in the hoosegow. And so much for the constitutionally protected right of freedom of expression. Zilla begins his sentence at the Oakalla maximum security prison where he keeps company with mother rapers and father stabbers, father rapers and mother stabbers, before being transferred to a halfway house within walking distance of a strip bar in south Vancouver.
The judge seemed to think that he could “scare me straight” and “correct my attitude problem” by sending me to Oakalla, BC’s maximum security prison
What he didn’t know was that I grew up with all those mother rapers and father stabbers in the housing projects I grew up in. I knew those guys. I was those guys, just smarter and less violent. And they all loved that I had told the judge to kiss my ass, especially when it was right there in the Vancouver Sun telling them it was so.
I have two clear memories from my time in maximum security:
They put me into a cell with no light bulb. It was dark but from the light in the corridor I could make out some graffiti scrawled on it. It was political propaganda. It was lampooning the Communist Party of Canada Marxist Leninist. My friend Slow Buffalo had recently served his sentence in the same cell. I laughed. Oh, how I laughed.
On my second day I was let out into the exercise yard, where I saw two groups (the mother rapers and the father stabbers?) singing I fought the Law
and doing the can0can
One group would sing
“Braking rocks in the”
the other group would sing
“I fought the law and the”
I burst out laughing, drawing the attention of a big motherfucking father raper mother stabber, who bellowed, “Hey, tree hugger! What’s so fucking funny?”
I literally wiped the smile off my face, cowered, averted my eyes and mumbled, “Nothing. Nothing.”
The big motherfucking father raper mother stabber burst nto laughter and I went over and joind him on the Group W bench
Nice try judge asshole, but it didn’t work, and I still have nothing but contempt for you and your stinking court and I am still a law unto myself and always will be.
PS – if you don’t know what the Group W bench is, you should listen to this classic from Arlo Guthrie, it’s well worth the 20 minutes