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B.C. judge denies application to extend injunction at Fairy Creek

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has denied an application to extend an injunction against old-growth logging blockades on southern Vancouver Island, writing that the actions of RCMP officers have put the court’s reputation at risk.

A court injunction against old-growth logging protests on Vancouver Island will not be extended and is set to expire Tuesday afternoon. (Adam van der Zwan/CBC)

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has denied an application to extend an injunction against old-growth logging blockades on southern Vancouver Island, writing that the actions of RCMP officers have put the court’s reputation at risk.

Justice Douglas Thompson handed down his decision Tuesday, writing that “it is not just and equitable in all the circumstances of the case” to grant Teal Cedar Products Ltd.’s request for an extended injunction order against protests blocking the forestry company’s access to its tenure in the Fairy Creek watershed area north of Port Renfrew.

Thompson said he acknowledged that allowing the injunction to expire could cause serious harm to the company’s interests and to the rule of law.

“On the other hand, methods of enforcement of the court’s order have led to serious and substantial infringement of civil liberties, including impairment of the freedom of the press to a marked degree,” Thompson said.

“And, enforcement has been carried out by police officers rendered anonymous to the protesters, many of those police officers wearing ‘thin blue line’ badges. All of this has been done in the name of enforcing this Court’s order.”

He wrote that the factors in favour of extending the injunction are outweighed by “the public interest in protecting the court from the risk of further depreciation of its reputation.”

To date, police have made more than 1,000 arrests in connection with their enforcement of the six-month interlocutory injunction order.

The order was first granted in April, prohibiting protesters from blocking logging routes or interfering with road construction and timber harvest. Teal Cedar had asked for a 12-month extension, but Thompson’s decision means the injunction now expires at 4 p.m. PT on Tuesday.

More to come.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Lindsay is a B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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