Native protester claims he’s a ‘political prisoner’
January 11, 2008
The Hamilton Spectator
CAYUGA ( Jan 11, 2008 )
A native activist being held at the Barton Street jail has portrayed himself as a “political prisoner” in the hands of a foreign government.
“I have been kidnapped in my homeland by a foreign government,” Albert Douglas, 32, told Justice Joe Nadel in Ontario Court Wednesday.
“I’m a political prisoner,” he added, as supporters in the courtroom applauded and shouted, “Way to go, Al.”
Douglas has been in custody at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre in Hamilton since he was arrested Sept. 27 on numerous criminal charges involving an OPP raid at Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia on April 20, 2006, and two incidents in Caledonia on June 9, 2006.
The June 9 incidents involve allegations he assaulted and robbed a TV cameraman and attempted to run over an OPP officer while hijacking a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle near Douglas Creek Estates.
Criminal charges stemming from the hijacking include forcible confinement, dangerous driving, robbery, leaving the scene of an accident and attempted murder.
He also faces charges of assaulting police and resisting arrest in connection with an incident at Douglas Creek Estates on April 20, 2006, when a heavily armed OPP tactical team attempted to remove native protesters from the site.
Nadel advised Douglas there’s a proper procedure to challenge the jurisdiction of the court.
He also advised Douglas to hire a lawyer to defend him on the more serious charges arising from the June 9 incidents, which are indictable offences.
He added there were consequences in remaining “mute” and refusing to participate in the process.
For example, if he doesn’t elect the kind of trial he wants on the indictable offences, he’ll automatically be tried by judge and jury and might not get the benefit of a preliminary hearing.
Douglas continued to criticize the prosecution yesterday for failing to provide him with “full and complete disclosure” of the allegations against him.
Assistant Crown Attorney Mitchell Hoffman said Douglas was trained to use a computer and given access to 7,000 pages of material on discs.
Douglas told the judge he didn’t want to review some of the material on computer because there are cameras in his cell and some audio portions of the material are hard to hear.
The judge has ordered him to return to court Jan. 16.