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NEWS: Judge calls for ‘sensible clarifying language’ on Hundert & Hiscocks bail conditions

The Canadian Press reports, “An Ontario judge is giving two alleged G20 protest ringleaders and the Crown a chance to clarify a bail restriction banning the pair from public demonstrations. Alex Hundert and Amanda Hiscocks are charged with conspiring to organize riots and vandalism at last year’s summit. Police arrested them in a pre-dawn raid hours before the event began in June 2010. One of their bail conditions bars them from participating in a protest or public demonstration — a restriction they are challenging in Superior Court. The accused are not seeking to have the term lifted, but today asked Justice Bonnie Croll to define what the word demonstration means. Croll put off the start of arguments for a week, saying the accused and Crown should first try to clarify the ‘no demonstration’ wording outside court. Hundert was charged with violating his bail after speaking last September at two G20 discussion panels in Toronto.”

The National Post adds, “A contentious bail condition preventing two alleged ringleaders of last summer’s G20 protests from participating in public demonstrations could stand to be amended with ‘sensible clarifying language,’ such as permitting lawful educational events, a Superior Court judge suggested Thursday. Instead of holding a week-long hearing into whether the condition should be altered, Justice Bonnie Croll asked the Crown and the two accused to see if they could agree on a clarification to address the defendants’ criticism that the no-demonstration clause is too broad. ‘I encourage all of you to take a reasoned and sensible approach to this… This isn’t overly complex here,’ Judge Croll said, ordering both sides to discuss the issue and return to court Aug. 4.”

This week, the Council of Canadians signed on to a statement that “affirms that such sweeping criminalization of dissent as this bail condition poses is entirely unacceptable.” Further, “the discretionary power afforded to the police and the Crown in pre-trial judicial processes must be challenged as it is far too often used in prejudicial and repressive ways.” The Council “affirms support for Mandy Hiscocks and Alex Hundert and their challenge of the ‘no demonstration’ condition.”

In October 2010, the Council stated that the bail conditions placed on Alex Hundert are excessive and unwarranted. We share the same concerns expressed by lawyer John Norris, the Toronto Star editorial board, the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Osgoode Hall law professor Alan Young, that can be read at Last year, the Council donated $1,000 to Mr. Hundert’s legal defence fund.