Lambda

Remaining SCAP-11 members acquitted of charges

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By Kayla Perry

The remaining seven members of the SCAP-11 who had been facing trespassing charges were acquitted on Nov. 12, by Justice of the Peace Diane Lafleur.

The crown had attempted to charge the SCAP-11 with trespassing after the group set up a mock homeless shelter in MPP Rick Bartolucci’s office on Nov. 9, 2012.

Thomas Sutton, a fifth year LU student in the political science program, was among those who were arrested during the protest in Bartolucci’s office.

Sutton said that although it “feels great” to be acquitted, he has “absolutely no regrets” about participating in the mock homeless shelter.

The mock shelter was organized as a result of the province’s cancellation of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit.

“People these days give us students a bad rap,[…] But students played a critical role in facilitating this protest,” Sutton said. “We started off as an emergency homeless shelter and now we’re building a movement.”

Lafleur had previously found two of the 11 members not guilty, and acquitted another two members on Oct. 31, due to a lack of evidence against them.

In court on Nov. 12, Lafleur ruled that she was granting the groups’ pro-bono defence lawyer Don Kuyek’s motion to dismiss the charges against the remaining seven group members, stating that granting the Crown’s request to re-open the case would be prejudicial to the remaining seven members.

“I think it’s established the democratic right of people, to be able to go to their local politicians and request to speak with them: that if they are ignored, they can take more dramatic action.” said Gary Kinsman, Laurentian University professor and SCAP member.

Kinsman said that although the trial is over, the SCAP is still “quite busy – every single day we are doing support work for people living in poverty.”

Sutton said he “will still participate with SCAP events” although he’s not as active as he’d like to be, given that “currently balancing work, life and school is already tough enough.”