​Pipeline protesters including Green leader should face criminal charges: judge

Green Party leader Elizabeth May is arrested at a Trans Mountain Pipeline protest on March 23. Image: Rogue Collective

VANCOUVER — A B.C. Supreme Court judge says the Crown should consider laying criminal contempt of court charges against Green party Leader Elizabeth May and dozens of other demonstrators alleged to have violated a pipeline court injunction.

May, New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart, and others arrested last month were originally charged with civil contempt of court over allegations that they protested within five metres of two Trans Mountain sites in Burnaby, B.C.

But Justice Kenneth Affleck says there's no doubt in his mind that the alleged actions of the protesters amount to criminal contempt and the matter should be taken over by B.C.'s attorney general.

Affleck says the trials, which should be expedited, aren't determining the merit of the pipeline project but focus solely on whether the court order was breached.

A spokesman for the B.C. Prosecution Service said it had a representative in court to address any proceedings and it would not have any further comment because the case is before the court.

The judge released the group on a promise to appear in court next week.

May declined comment after the hearing.

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