Law360 Canada (September 18, 2023, 9:19 AM EDT) -- Appeal by James Leyden (appellant) from conviction for criminal contempt on grounds that trial judge erred in her assessment of mens rea. The appellant was prosecuted for criminal contempt after conducting an Indigenous pipe ceremony with a group of individuals who were protesting a pipeline under construction by Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (“Trans Mountain”) and blocking the main entrance of Trans Mountain’s tank farm facility in Burnaby (“Burnaby Terminal”). The conduct of the protesters contravened an injunction that had been in place. The appellant described himself as a Sundance elder. He arrived at the site with the protesters, who proceeded to occupy a crosswalk that blocked vehicles from entering or exiting the main entrance to the Burnaby Terminal. The crosswalk fell within the scope of the injunction. The appellant testified he was not there to breach the injunction but to keep the peace. The pipe ceremony was a ceremony for peace. The trial judge found the appellant had actual notice of the injunction and its terms. She further found the appellant’s presence with the protesters in the crosswalk physically obstructed, impeded and prevented access by Trans Mountain’s personnel and contractors to gain access to and exit from the Burnaby Terminal. The trial judge found both the actus reus and the mens rea for criminal contempt had been proved....
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