OTTAWA, June 2, 2010 – U of O Master’s student and Senate member-elect Joseph Hickey was found not guilty today of a politically motivated charge under the Trespass to Property Act. Mr. Hickey is the second student politician in the past year to be trespassed by the Rock administration from all U of O lands and buildings.
Mr. Hickey, represented pro bono by Caroline Cyr of Crystal Criminal Law Office, was arrested and removed from campus on December 11, 2009 while booking an appointment with President Allan Rock to have the no trespassing notice revoked.
Ex-minister of Justice Mr. Rock, Vice President Diane Davidson, and their legal counsel Alain Roussy were subpoenaed to appear as witnesses but were not needed once the prosecutor Terry Callaghan, after contacting the university, reported to Mr. Hickey’s lawyer that she would present no evidence at trial.
“The university has developed a habit of arresting and charging students only to contact the Crown Attorney’s office and have all charges dropped as soon as its executives have been subpoenaed to take the stand in open court. This is another incidence of irresponsible institutional behaviour by an administration that shoots first and then avoids the questions six months later,”said the scholarship graduate student, who is also a Teaching Assistant and member-elect of the university Senate.
“What is going on between the police and the university when the administration can repeatedly have students handcuffed and arrested and then never answer to it in court? I will work hard at Senate to get to the bottom of the university’s continuing abuse of the legal system to attack its students. Our fundamental freedoms must be protected, especially on campus”he continued.
The U of O Senate has a vibrant history, such as the December 1, 2008 arrest of two-time Student Union presidential candidate Marc Kelly who was banned from all of campus after he video recorded a Senate meeting. Following student protests, all Senate meetings are now video recorded and broadcast online, making it possible for everyone to tune-in and watch.
Ms. Cyr will continue to defend Joseph Hickey against a criminal charge that he participated in the painting of the message “These Walls Belong to Students” on a blank campus billboard wall on December 7, 2009. A full-day trial has been set for February 2, 2011.
For more information, please contact:
student Senator-elect, physics graduate student
Mireille Gervais LL.L
Director, Student Appeal Centre (Student Federation of the University of Ottawa)
email: case.cresac [at] sfuo.ca