Tiny House Warrior given conditional discharge in Kamloops court for pipeline protest incident | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tiny House Warrior given conditional discharge in Kamloops court for pipeline protest incident

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A member of the Tiny House Warriors was given a conditional discharge in Kamloops court Thursday for the theft of a padlock at a Trans Mountain pipeline pump station in Blue River.

At a sentencing hearing yesterday, Oct. 14, Justice Stella Frame ruled a conditional discharge was appropriate in the case against Kanahus Manuel. The condition is she she not go near a Trans Mountain pipeline pump station in Blue River for 12 months.

The charge stemmed from a Sept. 30, 2019, incident at the gates to pump station where the Tiny House Warriors were protesting pipeline construction.

Kanahus Manuel, 46, also known as Amanda Soper, was previously found guilty of theft under $5,000 for stealing a padlock used on the gate to the pump station.

Manuel's defense sought to have her fully discharged from sentencing, telling the court about the Manuel family's long, politically history.

READ MORE: 2 Tiny House Warriors found guilty of intimidation, theft in pipeline protest

According to her defense lawyer Martin Peters, Manuel is part of the first generation in her family not to attend Indian residential school.

"We are a proud family, and we volunteer our time — every waking hour," Manuel said in her statement to the court. "My father died with $25 in his bank account. We don't do it for money. We don't do it for fame. We do it because it's our duty and our responsibility."

She was referring to her continued efforts to lead the Tiny House Warriors in their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Their efforts are centred in Blue River, where she currently lives.

"Over and over, we are politically persecuted because of our stance as the Manuel family, but we won't shy away. We'll speak the truth because our grandfathers taught us that, and our grandmothers," Manuel said.

Judge Frame accepted that a conditional discharge would be appropriate, taking into account that Manuel had complied with release conditions set for her two years ago.

"I have been struck by... the wealth of knowledge that you bring," Frame said. "But at the end of the day, if an offence is committed, that is all that I deal with."

She added that the imposing a sentence should reflect the guilty conviction, while taking context into account.

READ MORE: Province failed to consult Secwepemc First Nations for CN quarry expansion

Manuel must now adhere to her one condition, which is to remain at least 10 metres away from the pump station in Blue River, with the exception of travelling past without stopping.

Crown prosecutors sought to include more conditions, which would include having no contact with two Trans Mountain security guards involved in the September, 2019 incident, 10 hours of community service and check-ins with a probation officer.

Her sister, Nicole Manuel, was previously found guilty of intimidation using violent threats, but Frame did not reach a decision for her charges yet.

Nicole's defense lawyer Joe Killoran said they are seeking a conditional discharge for that offence. As for Kanahus's sentence, Killoran said he believes Frame reached the correct conclusion.

"They're different offences, but I think (Frame) quite properly recognized that Kanahus is a leader in the community," Killoran said. "She's quite a heroic person, and Nicole is the same, despite ruffling a few feathers around here."

A date has not yet been set for Nicole's sentencing hearing.

READ MORE: Security guard injured, 5 arrested at Trans Mountain pipeline protest near Blue River

Prosecutor Katie Bouchard told iNFOnews.ca the Crown is seeking a 90 to 120 day conditional sentence for Nicole, followed by a 12-month probation order.

— This story was updated at 11:05 a.m., Oct 15, 2021, with comment from Joe Killoran.


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