|UBCIC & BCAFN Disappointed with Decision to Seek Judicial Review of Frank Paul Commissioner’s Ruling|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2008
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs and BC Assembly of First Nations are calling on the Crown to cease in their efforts to proceed with a judicial review of Commissioner William Davies’ recent ruling in the Frank Paul Inquiry. Commissioner Davies ruled that the Criminal Justice Branch was included among the public bodies enumerated in the terms of reference and that the actions taken by the Branch in this case would be available for examination at the inquiry. This would relate to both the processes they followed and the decisions made when prosecutors reviewed the death of Frank Paul.
“One fact consistently demonstrated throughout the Inquiry into the death of Frank Paul, at every level, is that every single official has given expression to a litany of self-serving excuses and denials. ‘Don't blame me. I'm not at fault. I was just following orders’.” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “Without question, rampant, systemic racism, at every level, contributed to Frank Paul's cold, lonely, rain-soaked death in a back alley in the downtown eastside of Vancouver.” He continued. “The Criminal Justice Branch's recent efforts to seek immunity from the full proceedings of the Frank Paul Inquiry is yet another demonstration of its attempts to cover-up the decisions that were made to frustrate the Inquiry itself. Although justice for Frank Paul has been delayed, we, the Indigenous Leadership will not stand idly by and watch justice be denied to our brother Frank Paul and his family.” Grand Chief Phillip went on to say.
“There is a reasonably held perception that not everyone is being held equally before the law.” said Regional Chief Shawn Atleo of the BC Assembly of First Nations. “In all of its dealings with Aboriginal peoples, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Crown must act honourably. Yet, after making a commitment to First Nations to examine all institutional responses, including the responses of the Criminal Justice Branch, the provincial Crown is now trying to hide behind procedural remedies to blatantly violate its duty to act honourably in its dealings with Aboriginal peoples. What is at stake is the honour of the Crown.” He continued. “When this inquiry was announced, it was felt that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel and we would finally be able to find out why the Justice System failed Frank Paul so dramatically. The decision to seek a judicial review of the Commissioner’s ruling will only further delay the chance to finally get the answers that people have been waiting almost ten years to receive.” He went on to say.
Since the commencement of the Inquiry, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and BC Assembly of First Nations, as part of the First Nations Leadership Council, has continually stressed the importance of fully exploring and implementing the mandate set out in the Terms of Reference for this Inquiry.
For more information:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC (250) 490-5314
Wade Grant, BCAFN (604) 922-7733