Judge to decide sentencing for two Haudenosaunee men at Land Back Lane

Skyler Williams and Darryl Porter will be in court next week to hear a judge’s decision on sentencing for mischief and other charges related to activities surrounding their involvement at a land reclamation site in Caledonia known as Land Back Lane.

The two are facing mischief charges, among other offences, for their involvement in the protest, which saw Six Nations people and their allies stop construction of a housing development in Caledonia on McKenzie Road in Caledonia in July 2020.

The group has since built a little community there, with families and children and the permanent construction of tiny homes on the land once slated for a massive housing subdivision.

Williams, who is a brand-new father to a one-month-old baby, says there is one silver lining: he has been informed there will be no custodial sentence, meaning no jail time.

“I’m pleased about that,” says Williams, who was the main face of Land Bank Lane for the past few years but has since gone back to work as an ironworker. “There isn’t going to be any jail time.”

In December, a Haldimand court ruled in favour of the McKenzie Meadows housing development company granting them a permanent injunction that gives police the right to remove land defenders from the property for “trespassing.”

“We put in our notice of appeal,” said Williams. “We are going to be appealing to the Ontario Court of Appeal. We have to give them an opportunity to walk some of this reconciliation talk they’ve been spouting for the past 20 years.”

Even with the appeal winding its way through the superior court, police have the right to enter any time to remove the families and children residing there, said Williams.

“There is always a threat. Even while it’s in court for the appeal. There’s still a chance the police could go in.”

He said although things have been quiet at Land Back Lane, the nickname for the land reclamation site on McKenzie Road, “There’s still lots of people there. There’s a number of kids that live there. It’s become a nice little community of folks and live free on our lands.”

Williams said he has no faith the police will respect the children and families who live there under constant threat of eviction from the OPP.

Williams and Porter will be in court on Jan. 25 to hear their sentences.

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