Convictions, acquittals for protesters involved in red paint incident at Thompson Rivers University

·2 min read

Three Tiny House Warriors protesters who crashed a closed-door meeting on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project at Thompson Rivers University in 2018 have been convicted and acquitted on numerous charges.

Nicole Manuel, Chantel Manuel and Isha Jules went to trial last May on counts of mischief, causing a disturbance and assault in connection with the Dec. 10, 2018 incident. The trio was part of a group of protesters that deliberately spilled red paint outside the university’s Campus Activity Centre (CAC) before storming the doors to the Grand Hall inside the building, where representatives from Natural Resources Canada and Trans Mountain were meeting with First Nations leadership under the guidance of former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci.

On Wednesday, Jan. 5, Kamloops provincial court Judge Stella Frame handed down rulings on the myriad charges, finding Jules and Nicole Manuel guilty of mischief in relation to the spilling of the paint at the CAC. Frame, however, acquitted Chantel Manuel of that charge as Frame said she wasn’t convinced Manuel knew or ought to have known it was going to happen, Crown prosecutor Tim Livingston told KTW.

The three accused faced numerous assault charges in connection with a scuffle with police and security personnel they tried to push past to enter the meeting.

Both Chantel and Nicole Manuel were convicted of assaulting Trans Mountain security guard and former RCMP officer Peter Haring, while Chantel was also convicted of assaulting another security guard in the struggle.

Jules, the only one who succeeded in entering the room, was acquitted on two counts of assault — on Trans Mountain security guard Pier-Oliver Poulin and on Chief Patrick Michell of the Kanaka Bar Band, who was hit with paint when Jules waved a paint-soaked piece of clothing inside the conference room.

Joe Killoran, one of three defence lawyers who served in the trial, told KTW Frame found the evidence given by Poulin wasn’t satisfactory to convict and that intent couldn’t be established in the assault on Michell.

All three Tiny House Warrior protesters were found guilty of causing a disturbance for disrupting the meeting.

“The defence respectfully disagrees with the verdict,” Killoran said, adding he feels the Tiny House Warriors group is “over-policed and treated as menaces to society” in the B.C. Interior, whereas in the rest of Canada, the group has a reputation for fighting for Indigenous rights and climate change.

A date for sentencing Jules and the Manuels is expected to be set on Jan. 13.

Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week

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