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Kent County, New Brunswick - Where prayer becomes mischief

Suzanne Patles prepares for Charter challenge of shale gas related charge

by Miles Howe

Patles - centre with purple shawl - and supporters outside Moncton courthouse [Photo: M. Howe]
Patles - centre with purple shawl - and supporters outside Moncton courthouse [Photo: M. Howe]

MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK - On June 9th, Suzanne Patles was arrested while in prayer on highway 126, in Kent County, New Brunswick.

Patles, a Mi'kmaq woman, was not impeding the immediate movement of SWN Resources Canada's seismic testing equipment; the equipment was about 75 feet away from where she was kneeling on the highway.

To the RCMP, however, she was clearly in the way. In mid-prayer they arrested her and charged her with mischief.

Patles, with no prior convictions, was remanded for 21 hours.

Although some people previously arrested in conjunction with the shale gas protests in Kent County were released almost immediately, with no conditions attached to their release, the Crown originally asked that Patles not be allowed within 5 kilometers of SWN's equipment. The presiding judge reduced this to a 1 kilometer distance.

On Friday, August 9th, Patles was again in court. Unlike 25 of the 35 people arrested in relation to the protests, Patles has not had her charges dropped.

On Friday she represented herself in court, and asked that her conditions be removed due to them being unconstitutional in relation to her Charter rights.

I caught up with Suzanne outside of the Moncton Courthouse and interviewed her amongst a gathered crowd of supporters.

Please enjoy the following interview with Susanne Patles.

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