Two people who were charged with breaking a court order in November 2021 forbidding them from blocking access to work on a northern B.C. pipeline will need to complete community service hours.
Logan Staats and Hannah Hall pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of criminal contempt in B.C. Supreme Court in Smithers, B.C., for breaking a court order.
Staats and Logan were among dozens arrested as part of RCMP raids Nov. 18 and 19, 2021, to enforce an injunction against blocking access to work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Although the company signed benefit agreements with 20 elected band councils along the project's route in 2018, several Wet'suwet'en hereditary leaders say band councils do not have authority over traditional territories beyond reserve boundaries and the company does not have consent to cross their territory, about 780 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.
Staats was part of a group at a blockade of the Morice West Forest Service Road while Hall was arrested at an area called Coyote Camp.
Justice Michael Tammen sentenced Staats, a Mohawk musician from Six Nations in Ontario, to 75 hours of community service work. Hall was sentenced to 225 hours of community service.
Five other people who pleaded guilty last December to criminal contempt charges related to the same blockade were given a choice between a fine or community service hours. Three of the accused paid a $500 fine, while two others were given 25 hours of community service.
Logan Staats, a Mohawk musician and activist from the Six Nations of the Grand River arrested as part of RCMP raids on blockades of Coastal GasLink pipeline work in November 2021, was sentenced to 75 hours of community service. (Mark Cumby/CBC)
The reason Staats and Hall received more community service hours in their sentences, agreed upon in a joint submission by counsel, had to do with how long they waited to enter their guilty pleas since their arrests.
Hall and Staats have a 10-month-old baby together. The defence counsel had asked for Gladue factors to be considered for Hall, even though she is not Indigenous. However, the Crown and Tammen did not see this as applicable.
Defense co-counsel, Quinn Candler, said because both Hall's child and partner are Mohawk if she were to receive a custodial sentence it would deprive their family of a key member and seriously interrupt her child's life, continuing a pattern of dislocation from culture and separation from family.
"The significance of Gladue factors is that they attenuate the moral blameworthiness of the individual and it is difficult to see how that could apply to Ms. Hall, who is not Indigenous," said Tammen.