B.C. Court of Appeal rejects appeals of Trans Mountain pipeline protesters

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The trial judge rejected their application, finding that the defence of necessity had no reasonable prospect of success and refused to allow the appellants to call expert evidence.

On appeal, they raised a number of arguments, claiming that the trial judge’s analysis of the issues was legally flawed. They asked for a new trial and an opportunity for the evidence to be heard.

But in a ruling released Monday, a three-judge panel of the province’s top court rejected their arguments and dismissed the appeals.

In her written reasons, Justice Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten concluded that the trial judge had correctly found that there was no “air of reality” to the defence of necessity raised by the appellants, given the narrowly defined ambit of that defence.

The judge said she didn’t doubt the sincerity of the appellants’ view that blocking the Trans Mountain sites was the best way to stop the pipeline expansion, or the sincerity of their claim that defying the injunction was a “last ditch gesture in despair.”

But she agreed with the Crown that alternatives existed and found that complying with the injunction was not demonstrably impossible, particularly in light of the fact that the appellants were given the chance to leave the area before they were arrested and to continue the protest in a nearby and lawful location.

Chief Justice Robert Bauman and Justice David Harris agreed with DeWitt-Van Oosten.

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