An environmental activist group has called out as a predator preying on vulnerable people from a judge in British Columbia for using protestors as “sacrificial lambs” in its effort to call attention to old-growth logging through highly disruptive traffic blockades.
During the sentencing hearing for Ian Schortinghuis, a 30-year-old protester who was detained after blocking major Metro Vancouver’s roads and bridges in three different protests between April and June, provincial court judge Laura Bakan had harsh words for Save Old Growth.
According to the ruling that was published online, Bakan stated that Schortinghuis is “unsophisticated,” “sincere, and without guile” based on her observations and the evidence presented in court.
“He appears to be the type of person these groups entice and basically use as sacrificial lambs for their causes,” she said in Richmond provincial court.
“I find this conduct reprehensible as they hide behind from the persons who have come before me, good people and people such as Mr. Schortinghuis who says that he was given a sense of purpose and belonging by these groups.”
On April 4, Schortinghuis participated in the blockade on the Ironworkers Bridge. Before the cops removed him, he had been on the bridge deck for nearly 30 minutes.
A crosswalk at Grandview Highway and Boundary was blocked by Schortinghuis and four other people five days later, impeding access to Highway 1.
Schortinghuis then took part in a blockade of the Massey Tunnel once more on June 13. He refused the instructions of police to come down from a 10-foot ladder that had been put over the lane line.
Three counts of mischief and two counts of breach of undertaking were brought against him.
Schortinguis graduated from high school and has no prior convictions. He suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and mental health problems, the judgement states. He has been accepted into the Automotive Repair Program at Vancouver Community College this September
Protesters risked arrest and the disgust of angry motorists during Save Old Growth’s prior campaign of a series of blockades of important B.C. roads and highways to demand an end to old-growth logging in the province.
If they are stating, “We are going to have so many people arrested,” the judge said, “it is like using people as cannon fodder.” “It is generally not the strategists that are on the front line.”
However not all of the protesters have mental illness or are vulnerable so that would not be able to be used as a blanket excuse for all protesters.
B.C. Liberal MLA, Ellis Ross for Kitimat-Skeena, expressed agreement with the judges decisions and called for action on the terrorist attack at the Coastal Gaslink earlier this year, which currently has no other available information except what BC Rise reported
“Wow! A BC judge calling it as he sees it! Now will the NDP do something about it; like charge the protesters who threatened pipeline workers outside Houston?” Ross wrote on twitter.