Ken Deane, the OPP officer who killed Dudley George, an unarmed Stoney Point defender, will face Police Act charges from September l7 to l9 for breaching the province's policing code of conduct. Deane was convicted in l997 of criminal negligence causing death and sentenced to community service.
The hearing will be held in London, Ontario.
Deputy Toronto Police Chief Loyall Cann will preside over the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) disciplinary hearing to be held in London, Ontario. The prosecutor will be Denise Dwyer, who has worked for a decade as a criminal prosecutor in Kitchener and Toronto.
Ian Roland will handle Deane's defence. He is general counsel to the Police Association of Ontario and the Canadian Police Association. Roland, an experienced lawyer in employment matters, was involved in the development of the Police Services Act, under which Deane is now charged.
Deane served a two-year conditional sentence after being convicted in July l997 of criminal negligence, causing the death of Native activist Dudley George. Judge Hugh Fraser also found Deane was lying on the stand to cover up his actions. Deane subsequently appealed the decision up to the Supreme Court of Canada, which upheld the guilty verdict on January 26, 2001.
Dudley George was taking part in a protest against the desecration of an ancient burial site. He was among thirty aboriginal protesters who had the legal "colour of right" to occupy Aazhoodena Territory-Stoney Point, formerly known as Ipperwash Provincial Park. On September 6, 1995, he was shot and killed by OPP officer Kenneth Deane during a peaceful demonstration at Aazhoodena, the Stoney Point People's traditional lands in Ipperwash Park. The Stoney Point people have been fighting for the return of their lands and protection of their burial ground in the park for more than fifty years.
Last month, Ontario Premier Mike Harris showed his apparent frustration over persistent questioning about his role in the 1995 Ipperwash affair. On June 5, witnesses heard him call Liberal MPP Gerry Phillips an "asshole" in the legislature. Mr. Phillips had been asking the Premier why he is attempting to bankrupt Mr. George's family by forcing them to proceed with a civil suit to uncover Harris's role in the shooting. The Premier's office later denied Harris had used the word.
The Premier's own legal fees so far have topped $500,000 in public money, Liberal Native Affairs Critic Gerry Phillips said last January, citing an access-to-information request he received in October. "I think it's obscene for the George family to carry the load for the Ontario public to get to the bottom of this matter," he said.
The OPP are asking for the return of an estimated $300,000 in legal fees from Deane. The force has conceded it had no legal authority to pay the defendant's bill because Deane was convicted of a crime. In an interview last month, Deputy Commissioner William Currie said the force is sending a letter requesting repayment of the defence bills.
According to Superintendent Rick Kotwa, Deane has also been served with a letter from the OPP seeking his dismissal because he has been convicted of a criminal offence. Deane is now working in an office job in the OPP traffic-support bureau. He does not carry a firearm in his current duties, Kotwa said.
Murray Klippenstein, who represents the George Family in a wrongful-death civil suit, insists that the public has a right to know how much taxpayers' money went to Deane's defence. If large amounts of public funds are going to defend unlawful acts without accountability, this is one more question for a public inquiry into Ipperwash, Klippenstein said.
Harris has steadfastly refused to order a public inquiry.
This article originally ran in the July issue of Anishinabek News. It's posted on rabble with permission. Dan Smoke-Asayenes produced the piece for the Native News Network of Canada. The author is a Seneca storyteller. He co-produces and co-hosts an award-winning First Nations radio newsmagazine called Smoke Signals in London, Ontario. Every week Dan and his wife, Mary Lou, can be heard on Sundays from 6 to 8 p.m. on CHRW, 94.7 FM. You can listen to the show live by using Real Audio.
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