| Feb 14, 2008

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Feature Article - February 7, 2008 Shabot Obaadjiwaan leadership backs out of RobertsvilleBy Jeff Green

File photo: Chief Doreen Davis leaving court after a hearing in August, 2007

In one day, it went from the Robertsville 8 to the Robertsville 3.

Of the eight individuals who were facing potentially severe financial penalties as the result of contempt of court charges being pursued in Kingston Court by Frontenac Ventures Corporation, three have had their matters deferred; two have backed out and committed to ending their obstruction; and three were left to face a sentencing hearing.

At the beginning of a hearing on February 12 on the contempt charges, the lawyer for Frank Morrison presented a motion and supporting documents arguing that he should not be part of the proceedings. Instead of pursuing Morrison, Frontenac Ventures lawyer Neal Smitheman proposed that the motion be heard in late March, and that the hearing proceed against the other individuals. David Mile, a member of the Christian Peacemakers who was also charged, stood up in court and admitted to having been present at the Robertsvillle mine site after an injunction ordering people off the site had been served. He has not engaged a lawyer, and it seems the case against him has been deferred. A third man, John Hudson, was not present in court and has not had charges laid against him. Neal Smitheman said he would not pursue Hudson at this time, but held out the possibility that he would at a later date.

This left five Algonquin protesters to face the contempt charges.

Stephen Reynolds, the lawyer for Chief Doreen Davis and Earl Badour of the Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nation, said that his clients would accept that they had breached the court order.

Chris Reid, the lawyer for Bob Lovelace, Harold Perry, and Chief Paula Sherman of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, also said his clients would not dispute the charges, setting the stage for a sentencing hearing to commence on Wednesday morning, February 13.

Neal Smitheman then told Judge Cunningham, who has been presiding over the matter, that it was possible that some sort of arrangement could be made before the sentencing hearing. Judge Cunningham asked if the arrangement could be completed by Wednesday morning, and Smitheman said, “If we can come to one, it won’t take very long,” so court was recessed but not adjourned for the day.

Just over an hour later, court was reconvened and the eight-month alliance between Ardoch and the Shabot Obaadjiwaan dissolved.

Stephen Reynolds read out a statement.

He reportedly said that Doreen Davis and Earl Badour and members of the Shabot Obaadjiwaan had agreed not to block access to the Robertsville mine or any other access to Frontenac Ventures’ mining claim in the future, and that the Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nation intended to pursue negotiations with the government of Ontario.

That left three members of the Ardoch Nation to face a sentencing hearing.

Bob Lovelace was scheduled to give testimony regarding sentencing on Wednesday morning, and Paula Sherman and Harold Perry were expected to attend court as well.

In information filed with the court last fall, Frontenac Ventures Corporation is seeking at least $50,000 from each individual who is guilty of contempt of court.

The Shabot Obaadjiwaan and Ardoch Algonquin First Nations blockaded the Robertsville mine, the access point for a 30,000-acre uranium claim by Frontenac Ventures Corporation on June 28. They vacated the mine and set up an observation post with non-aboriginal allies outside the gate in early November.

A mediation process between the Algonquin communities and the government of Ontario that began in December was abandoned two weeks ago because the First Nations and the government disagreed over whether test drilling should be permitted during a proposed consultation process.

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