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.”