MONCTON – As we approach the two month mark of their incarceration, this week is set to see the first of the Mi’kmaq Warriors Society members stand trial for their response to the vicious RCMP assault of the highway 134 encampment on October 17th Aaron Francis is slated to stand trial for a variety of charges on December 12th and 13th in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Rumours of cruel and unusual treatment during their incarceration surfaced when Society member David Mazerolle spoke of being placed in solitary confinement while at the Southeast Regional Correctional Centre (SRCC) in Shediac, New Brunswick. Mazerolle also spoke of witnessing Francis being “beat up” while being transferred to the SRCC, and noted that all members of the Society were “cut off completely from the phones.”
Mazerolle noted that typically, even inmates placed in solitary confinement, or “the hole”, are at least granted “half hour breaks”. That was not the case with the Society members, who were placed in constant solitary confinement with the sole exception being court appearances.
Mazerolle was among the six members of the Society who were transferred to the SRCC. They all face a variety of charge stemming from the 17th, to the supposed ‘lead-up’ events that transpired on October 15th and 16th.
He and Signigtog District War Chief Jason Augustine were subsequently released from custody, while Francis, Jim Pictou, Coady Stevens and Germaine ‘Junior’ Breau have remained behind bars since the 17th.
Social media circles have drawn comparison concerning members of the Society who are still in jail awaiting trial, and well-monied Dennis Oland. Oland, after being charged with the second-degree murder of his father, was out on bail days later on a $50,000 surety.
Also important to note is the total oversight of presiding bail hearing judge Camille Vautour to apply the Gladue principle to his decision. Of particular concern, Vautour determined that Coady Stevens would be denied bail due to several previous convictions.
Stevens, in his plea to Vautour, referenced his difficult upbringing on reservations across the Maritimes as being a driving factor in his convictions. The argument fell on deaf ears and Stevens has been incarcerated ever since. Also notable, Vautour did not reference section 718.2 (e) of part XXIII of the Criminal Code of Canada, which requires the judge to contemplate “the unique systemic or background factors which may have played a part in bringing the particular aboriginal offender before the courts.”
Also lost in this narrative is that these men are sons, brothers and fathers, and this is the holiday season.
“He needs to come out,” says Annie Clair of her son Junior Breau. “He’s got a daughter that he needs to spend the holidays with. He’s got family that miss him, his grandparents, and his mother that loves him dearly and want him to come home. We cannot celebrate Christmas without him.”