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MPs could be tried for criminal contempt for Kinder Morgan protest

Last Updated Apr 16, 2018 at 12:55 pm PDT

NDP MP Kennedy Stewart and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May attend a rally in Burnaby against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion project on March 23, 2018. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC Prosecution Service is taking over conduct of the case against anti-pipeline protesters on Burnaby Mountain.

The Crown will explore whether contempt-of-court criminal charges are warranted for breaching a court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan facilities, rather than pursuing it as a civil matter.

This decision likely affects MPs Elizabeth May and Kennedy Stewart who were arrested late last month for blocking a gate at a work site.

NEWS 1130 asked Stewart if he’s concerned about the possibility of criminal charges. “I have discussed this with my family and I am prepared for whatever happens. But I think, as a member of Parliament, I have to stand up for my community and this is… the last thing I can do to stand up for my community.”

Special prosecutors will handle May and Stewart’s cases.

Lawyer Greg DelBigio has been appointed to deal with May’s case. Michael Klein will handle Stewart’s case.

“The appointments were necessary to avoid any significant potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of criminal justice,” reads a statement from the BC Prosecution Service.

On March 23, May and Stewart stood just inches from the Kinder Morgan gates, in defiance of the injunction which says demonstrators must stay at least five metres back from Kinder Morgan facilities.

They were led away by a group of Mounties.

Before the arrest, they held a sign, criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of his approval of the pipeline expansion.

“When your government doesn’t listen and your government breaks its word, sometimes you’re forced to stand in non-violent, civil disobedience, as a respectable, legitimate form of protest,” said May at the time.