© Guardian photo by Ryan Ross
RCMP clear out a group of protesters blocking construction at the Plan B highway re-alignment site in October.
A group of Plan B protesters that included Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker were fined in provincial court Tuesday for their roles in trying to stop construction of a highway realignment project in Churchill.
Darcie Lanthier, the Green party’s former interim leader, was the only one to appear in court in Charlottetown Tuesday while the rest entered guilty pleas through their lawyer.
While there were 10 people facing trespassing charges, Lanthier was there on a criminal charge of obstruction for resisting arrest after she was told to leave the construction site.
Lanthier’s case was the first dealt with Tuesday afternoon and after a brief recess she changed her plea to guilty on the obstruction charge.
Crown attorney Gerald Quinn told the court Lanthier was arrested for mischief in October after someone at the site told the RCMP she was in a fenced-off restricted area. The driver of a piece of heavy machinery was unable to use the equipment because Lanthier and her son were in its direct path.
When an officer told her she was trespassing, Lanthier responded that she was exercising her right to free assembly. When the officer told her she was being arrested she ignored him and when he tried to escort her off the site she went limp.
That’s when three other RCMP officers joined him to carry her away.
Lanthier refused to identify herself to police and they were on their way to the Provincial Correctional Centre when she decided to cooperate.
When it came to a sentence, Orr followed a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence and imposed a $250 fine with 12 months of probation, during which time she must complete 100 hours of community service.
Orr also ordered Lanthier to stay away from the Plan B site during that time, unless she is driving on the Trans-Canada Highway and she must write apology letters to the arresting officers, the project manager and the equipment operator.
Lanthier also has to pay $40 to the victims of crime fund.
Orr also dealt with 10 other protestors Tuesday whose cases were carried over from Monday when the court was closed due to the bad weather.
Bevan-Baker, former NDP leader James Rodd, Boyd Lee Allen, Douglas W. Millington, Catherine M. Grant, Cindy Dawn Richards, Catherine J. Russell, Kathleen Anne Murphy, Alyssa Dawn MacAusland and James Robert Roy Johnston were not in court Tuesday.
Each of them was charged with trespassing after they tried to disrupt work at the Plan B site in October.
Their lawyer Mitch MacLeod, who also represented Lanthier, told the court he had been in contact with a representative for the group who said they wanted to change their plea to guilty.
Quinn recommended a $200 fine for each of them with a $75 administration charge and Orr agreed.