K’ómoks First Nation wins precedent-setting case regarding land management

The K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) is the first Indigenous community to win a provincial court case this September, which confirmed their rights to manage their own lands and resources and have their laws enforced and upheld.

After a lengthy 10 months in court, KFN successfully prosecuted private criminal charges against a couple that had been trespassing on KFN Lands under the KFN’s land code. The couple had their lease terminated in December of 2017. Despite being asked to leave, and being served a letter of trespass issued by the Chief, they remained in the home from that time until Oct. 2. They made no payments to the owner of the home, and in those 11 months and have done extensive damage to the home as well as the property, which is owned by the Nation.

“It was extremely frustrating,” said K’omoks Chief Nicole Rempel. “They flat out refused to leave. We contacted the RCMP numerous times. We had meetings at a Chief and Council level with the RCMP, and they refused to uphold the law, because the land code wasn’t a law they were familiar with.”

Even though they were now trespassers under the KFN land code, local RCMP and Crown prosecutors didn’t know how to get involved.

Following a guilty verdict issued on Sept. 25, they were given until the sentencing date of Oct. 2 to remove their belongings and evacuate the home. At sentencing they were given a $1,000 fine each, as well as six months’ probation.

“I’m extremely happy that the provincial court decided that this was something we could uphold,” Rempel said. “Hopefully, we don’t have to go through the court again. Hopefully, the relevant authorities recognize the law and uphold it the way they’re supposed to. This verdict is a great advancement in recognition of first nations laws and a win in our advancement in self-government.”

The KFN Land Code is the result of the First Nations Land Management Act enacted in 1999, which gave First Nations the authority to write their own laws for managing land and resources. However, the ability to create their own laws did not necessarily mean the RCMP would uphold those laws, which led the Nation to apply to the courts to conduct a private criminal prosecution of current tenants, without the usual assistance from police and the Crown.

 

Just Posted

Verdict gives murder victims’ parents sense of closure

A guilty verdict delivered earlier this week was “like a weight lifted off the chest.”

Thieves break into mailboxes overnight in Courtenay, Comox

Thieves in Comox were busy overnight on March 17, breaking into more… Continue reading

Man convicted of Courtenay couple’s murder

Michael Philip Simard, 45, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder.

Comox Valley RCMP looking for help to identify shoplifters

The Comox Valley RCMP is asking for assistance from the public to… Continue reading

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Comox Valley Hospice Society finds new Ocean Front home

Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) recently announced plans to construct a new… Continue reading

Cougar on Island might have been shot with bow-and-arrow

Conservation officer service looking for animal near Port Alice

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Most Read