| Aug 09, 2007


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Feature Article - August 9, 2007

Terms of Adjournment

by Jeff Green

Lawyers for Frontenac Ventures Corporation and the Shabot Obaadjiwan and Ardoch Algonquin First Nations will hear this week what interim terms a Kingston judge will place on the parties involved in a $77 million lawsuit.

After a three day hearing, which Steve Reynolds, the lawyer for the Shabot Obaadjiwaan, described as the “longest proceeding for a simple adjournment that I’ve ever seen,” Judge Thomson of the Kingston Superior Court told the parties they will “hear from me in the near future. “

He then said, “I did not expect to be working this weekend.”

Riena

Thomson spent the long weekend wading through three days of arguments, counter arguments and several hundred pages of submissions, the majority of which came from Neal Smitheman, the lawyer for Frontenac Ventures Corporation.

The judge could opt for the status quo, which is what the defence is requesting, for the six-week period before a hearing on what is called an “interlocutory injunction”, scheduled to begin on September 20.

He could also impose specific terms, in the form of a temporary injunction. Frontenac Ventures has requested that they be allowed access to a section of their claims on the south side of Ardoch Road in the vicinity of Burke Settlement Road in Central Frontenac, where test holes have been drilled in the past.

The company provided the court with the specific locations where they would like to drill 20 holes over the next six weeks, saying that they chose spots where there is minimal vegetation to minimise potential environmental concerns.

Neal Smitheman told the judge that if the company is not allowed access to the property in August “it will suffer irreparable harm”.

In May, Frontenac Ventures entered into an agreement with Sylvio, a Vancouver-based company, for a reverse takeover, which would bring $5 million in financing to the cash-strapped corporation. According to Smitheman, the deal will not go through if Frontenac Ventures does “not have access to the site.”

Owen Young, the lawyer representing the government of Ontario, made his own proposal to the judge regarding a temporary injunction. He suggested the court rule that Frontenac Ventures be allowed to access and drill test holes only on the staked claims that are not located on “public lands”. Access and drilling would be limited to situations in which the landowner owns both the surface and mining rights and has a formal agreement with Frontenac Ventures to allow exploration.

“That wouldn’t do us any good,” said a member of the Frontenac Ventures management team as Owen Young was making the proposal, “It would limit us to a couple of scattered properties.”

At one point on the third day of proceedings, which were peppered with disputes between lawyers, a frustrated Judge Thomson suggested that he “might consider ordering that everyone leave the property, the company and the First Nations.”

Lawyers for Frontenac Ventures and the Ardoch and Shabot Obaadjiwaan Algonquins said they expect to hear from Judge Thomson early this week.

Neal Smitheman said that his client will abide by whatever Judge Thomson decides, and said, “I challenge my friends [the lawyers for the two Algonquin communities] to say the same thing.”

[Editor’s Note: Once we hear of the decision, we will post it on our website: www.frontenacnews.ca]

Court time has been scheduled for September 20 and 21, and October 2-5 in Kingston. A Superior Court Justice has been found to hear the next phase of this case, which will determine what the court will permit at the Robertsville mine site where the Shabot and Ardoch Algonquins are encamped, and throughout the 30,000-acre mining claim, while this case works its way through the courts. Decisions for the long-term activities on these properties will not be made until after the unfolding of the entire lawsuit, including Frontenac Ventures’ claim for $77 million in damages. This could take a very long time. Last week’s hearing, which gave a preview of the complexities of this case, provided the parties with an opportunity to lay out the main themes that they will be pursuing.

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