Loggers receive suspended sentences 

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Douglas MacFirston, a member of the more radical Friends of the Elaho, went a little further in accusing the B.C. government and the provincial justice system of placing corporate interests before the law.

"We can clearly see how the justice system and this government condone this violence against non-violent protesters, who are using their democratic voice to oppose the liquidation of old growth forests for corporate profits," MacFirston said.

Interfor denies any prior knowledge or consent in the attack, and says it was inappropriate for Judge Ellen Burdett to slam the logging company in her closing remarks. "While there was no evidence Interfor organized the event, there was at least tacit corporate approval," the judge said.

Interfor spokesman Steve Crombie says that there was no approval for attack, tacit or otherwise.

"It was an inappropriate comment and certainly baseless," says Crombie. "Because it was said in a court room in which Interfor wasn’t even on trial, where we didn’t even have a presence, there was absolutely no ability for us to address the matter, respond to it, or ask for any clarification.

"It’s frustrating, and there’s absolutely nothing to it. We had supervisors on site at the time and our understanding was that they were trying to prevent the loggers from going down there, but were unable to control them.

"I suppose if she had said something along the lines that because there were a couple of Interfor supervisors on the site then Interfor must take some responsibility for this by extension, then obviously it’s fair game."

Crombie says all Interfor employees have gone through a course on avoiding confrontations since the incident and were under strict order all season to walk away from any potential confrontation. There has not been a single incident of retaliation against protesters this year, he says, despite 49 separate incidents of vandalism, sabotage, blockades, tree sits, and direct confrontation on the part of the protesters.

As for the future of the guilty workers, Crombie says the company will sit down with them individually this week to discuss future steps. "We’re gong to be looking at their role in what took place on Sept. 15, what the courts have decided, and discussing with them what the next steps are going to be.

"As far as the contracted workers go, when we decide on next steps with our own employees, we’ll have to talk to the contractors and suggest they take some of those steps."

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