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Montreal G20 Trial Enters Second Week: Update And Appeal For Support

Montreal G20 Trial Enters Second Week: Update and Appeal for Support

Montreal -- Friday, April 11, 2003

[The trial of three Montreal social activists -- Jonathan
Aspireault-Masse, Jaggi Singh, and Christina Xydous -- will enter its
second week on April 14. If you live in the Montreal-area, your continued
support is appreciated, especially by attending the trial in person. It is
essential for the jury to see a courtroom of supporters. The trial will
continue on April 11, 14, 15, 16 and 17, between 9:30am-12:30pm and
2-4:30pm. The trial takes place in courtroom 3,11 at the Palais de Justice
(corner of Notre-Dame and St-Laurent, near metros Champ de Mars and Place
d'Armes). Jonathan, Jaggi and Christina are facing up to 2 years in
prison, and need your support in court! An update of the past week is
included below, as well as info about how you can help.]

Update from Week 1:

The Crown began its case against Jonathan, Jaggi and Christina with a
witness list that is made up exclusively of police officers and hotel
security guards. The Crown is also relying heavily on a surveillance video
of the events that conveniently excludes any audio. On that video,
Jonathan is nowhere to be seen, Christina is seen in a car, and Jaggi is
seen talking to people and giving a speech. None of the defendants are
ever seen on the video throwing rocks or engaging in any violent acts.
Moreover, never did Jonathan, Jaggi or Christina engage in any violent
acts at the G20 protest. They are basically being made scapegoats for a
police riot, where the police unnecessarily deployed pepper spray,
baton-wielding riot cops and horses.

The weaknesses in the Crown's case was pursued in persistent
cross-examination by Pascal Lescarbeau -- who represents Jonathan and
Christina -- and Jaggi, who is representing himself. Officers openly
admitted that defendants did not commit violent acts. The main
investigating officer even admitted that Jaggi and Christina, who were
trying to move the demo sound truck away from fleeing protesters, acted,
in his words, "responsibly". The same officer also testified that Jaggi
was a "leader" because he gave a speech, although he, nor any other Crown
witness, can remember the exact words of the speech. The jury seems
puzzled -- or bored -- by the Crown's case, and seems to be waiting for
evidence of real criminal activity.

There were some interesting revelations at trial this week at well. For
example, the police kept a booklet of photos of various Montreal-area
demonstrators, and the booklet was passed out to various police officers
prior to the G20 protest. The demonstrators -- some of whom had never been
arrested, and whose photos were taken at other protests -- were numbered
between one to fourteen as "subjects". Jaggi was listed as "subject #1".
Still, the officers who have so far testified state that the photo did not
influence their arrest of him more than one kilometer away almost one hour
after the demo had ended.

Another revelation was the confirmation of the presence of at least 24
undercover Surete du Quebec agents at the protest, with another 8
undercovers from the Montreal Police. The actions of the SQ agents have
never been accounted for, and the Crown has been extremely uncomfortable
at any mention of the SQ agents and their role. She objected several times
to questions posed by Jaggi, and at one point even hushed her own witness
as he was trying to respond.

The Crown's case continues next week. Jonathan, Jaggi and Christina intend
to start an active and thorough defence sometime next week, and will be
calling several witnesses, including many participants at the protest
against the G20 in October 2000.

For more information, e-mail montreal@tao.ca.