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More than 170 Fairy Creek logging protesters charged

On Monday, 121 people made their first appearance in court, either by phone or in person.
One of the Fairy Creek protesters.

The BC Prosecution ­Service has now approved 169 criminal contempt charges and three criminal-code charges against anti-logging protesters arrested at the Fairy Creek blockades.

In July, the prosecution service agreed to review the arrests of more than 400 people for allegedly breaching a court-ordered injunction granted to Surrey-based forestry company Teal Jones.

The injunction was intended to stop protesters from blocking roads to prevent the logging of old-growth forests in Tree Farm Licence 46, north of Port Renfrew.

The prosecution service said it has concluded there is a substantial likelihood of conviction for criminal contempt and a strong public interest in prosecuting criminally the alleged breach of the injunction.

Since August 2020, members of the Rainforest Flying Squad and other environmental activists have set up moving blockades in their bid to prevent logging and road-building in old-growth forests.

On Monday, 121 people made their first appearance, either by phone or in person, before Justice Douglas Thompson in Duncan.

At the beginning of the proceedings, Thompson read out the phone number and email address for legal aid to assist people who are unrepresented.

Those facing criminal contempt charges will appear in court again at 2 p.m. on Nov. 15 in Nanaimo to set dates for their hearings.

The RCMP acts independently from the prosecution service. Police decide how to conduct arrests and what charges to refer to the Crown. Each case is considered on its merits, said the prosecution service.