Jaggi Singh Pleads Guilty to Urging People to Tear Down G20 Security Fence, Facing Six Months Prison
Jaggi Singh pleads guilty to urging people to tear down G20 security fence
Crown asks for six months in prison
Community Solidarity Network - April 28, 2011
"Sometimes you put up walls not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down." - Anonymous
Media Contacts (English/French):
Craig Fortier, No One Is Illegal-Toronto: 416-735-0409
Blandine Juchs, Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC), Montreal: 438 323 1456
For updates from the court on April 28, please phone/text: Jessica Denyer, Community Solidarity Network: 416-708-3195
TORONTO, APRIL 28, 2011 -- Today, at the Ontario Court of Justice at Old City Hall, Montreal-based G20 protester Jaggi Singh has pled guilty to urging people to tear down the G20 security fence.
Jaggi, a member of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) and No One Is Illegal-Montreal, has technically pled guilty to “counselling to commit mischief over $5000”. His specific crime occurred during a short speech and subsequent replies to media questions during a No One Is Illegal press conference at the $5.5 million G20 security fence on June 24, 2010, just a few days before the G20 conference officially began in downtown Toronto.
Jaggi’s remarks, which will be entered into evidence, can be viewed on-line in two segments:
For Jaggi’s words, the Crown is demanding six months in prison, while his lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, is arguing for a much lesser penalty.
In return for Jaggi’s plea, the Crown is withdrawing all criminal conspiracy charges, charges still being faced by 17 other former co-accused who will begin their preliminary inquiry in September.
As part of the plea agreement between the Crown and Jaggi: i) the Crown will not call Jaggi as a witness in any G20-related case; ii) Jaggi’s plea cannot be used by the Crown in any other G20 prosecutions; iii) Jaggi will offer no cooperation to the Crown or the police; iv) Jaggi will offer no apologies for his actions and words; v) the entirety of my agreement will be public and not subject to any publication ban (plea agreement and related exhibits are linked below).
Sentencing arguments are being heard in front of Justice Bigelow at the Ontario Court of Justice today, and it is expected that he will deliver his ruling on sentence on June 21.
The following groups have today issued public support letters in support of Jaggi:
* No One Is Illegal (Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto & Vancouver): On the Justice of Tearing Down Fences and Dismantling Borders
* Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC): In Montreal, In Toronto and Everywhere, the Walls Must Fall!
* Solidarité sans frontières: Déclaration de soutien avec Jaggi
* QPIRG Concordia: A Public Statement in Support of Jaggi Singh
* Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP): Support Jaggi Singh and Resistance to Capitalist Austerity
* Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW): (to be posted shortly)
If your group or organization would also like to write a support letter, or endorse an existing one, please contact the CLAC in Montreal via email@example.com
- Exhibit A: Agreed Statement of Facts
- Exhibit B: Jaggi Singh twitter feed (June 3-July 6, 2010)
(Why the twitter feed?: The twitter feed was public and intended for a general audience. The Crown is using Jaggi’s twitter feed (June 3 to July 6, 2010) to highlight that he posted information like: 1) CLAC’s Anti-Capitalist Reader produced before the G20 called “Warning Shot!”; 2) No One Is Illegal statements produced before and after the G20; 3) a video posted by Jaggi (but not produced or made by him) called “Mon voyage à Toronto”, which includes the Dead Prez song “Fuck the Law.” You can access the relevant excerpts of the twitter feed directly at http://www.twitter.com/JaggiMontreal)
- Exhibit C: Jaggi Singh Speech and Q&A at the G20 Security Fence (June 24, 2010)
276 letters were submitted to the judge today in support of Jaggi. Many letter-writers indicated their full support for Jaggi’s words at the fence, and expressed agreement that the G20 security fence should have been removed. All letter-writers have urged the judge to impose a minimal sentence.
Among the groups who submitted support letters for Jaggi (as organizations, or as individuals on behalf of the organization): Anarchist Bookfair Collective (Montreal), Artivistic, l’Association pour la Défense des Droits et l’Inclusion des personnes qui Consomment des drogues du Québec (ADDICQ), Beehive Design Collective, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Center for Community Organizations (CoCo), le Centre des femmes d’ici et d’ailleurs, CKUT Board of Directors, Committee to Aid Refugees (CAR), Le comité exécutif de L’R, Coopérative Nos Rêves (Parc Extension), Community Solidarity Network (Toronto), Dignidad Migrante, le Bibliothèque Anarchiste DIRA, Le Frigo Vert Collective, le Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), le Front commun des personnes assistées sociales du Québec, le Groupe de Recherche en Intérêt Public de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (GRIP-UQÀM), Head & Hands (NDG), Immigrant Workers Center, Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques (IRIS), JOC-Montréal, Montréal-Nord Républik, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (Oakland, CA), Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (Toronto), OPIRG Toronto, People’s Potato Collective, Prisoner Correspondence Project, le Projet accompagnement solidarité Colombie (PASC), Purple Thistle Collective (Vancouver), QPIRG Concordia, QPIRG McGill, Radical Reference Montréal, Re-Con, le Regroupement intersectoriel des organismes communautaires de Montréal, Solidarité sans frontières, South Asian Women’s Community Centre, Stella, le Table des regroupemens provinciaux d’organismes communautaires et bénévoles, Toronto People’s Assembly on Climate Justice
As well, many more individuals (and other groups) from Montreal, Toronto, as well as all over Quebec, Canada, the USA and overseas have submitted letters of support.
After today’s plea, Jaggi Singh has issued the following short statement:
“By pleading guilty to counseling to commit mischief, I can openly state that the fence deserved to come down, and that the G20 deserved to be confronted. I'll pay a price for having said so openly, but I am ready to assume that responsibility.
"I assume that responsibility knowing that I have amazing and deep support from an engaged community of social justice organizers and activists in Quebec, Canada and beyond. I would like to express my profound thanks to everyone who’s offered me support in the past few months, in so many touching and diverse ways.
"Importantly, I would like to particularly express a public note of solidarity and support for all remaining G20 defendants who continue to fight their criminal charges. They are all deserving of everyone’s interest and active support, and I encourage all concerned about police and state repression to provide it, tangibly.
"By pleading guilty now, I am ending this legal matter, relatively speaking, on my own terms and timetable, and I’m looking forward to returning to the streets and protests of Montreal shortly.”
SUPPORT G20 DEFENDANTS:
- “Support G20 Defendants” Flyer: http://guelphprisonersolidarity.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/new...
- Free Byron Sonne: http://freebyron.org/index.php/Main_Page
- Community Solidarity Network Updates: http://g20.torontomobilize.org/
- The G20 Legal Fund (Québec): http://www.clac2010.net/en/node/193
"The G20 Legal Fund considers that all arrests occurred in the context of a legitimate struggle against the capitalist policies of the G20, and that all charges should be dropped immediately."
- Guelph ABC G20 Support Fund: http://guelphprisonersolidarity.wordpress.com/g20-support/
"An accessible alternate fund for G20 arrestees, mostly those facing serious charges. The fund is for immediate short-term needs of the defendants."
- The G20 Legal Defence Fund (Toronto): http://g20legaldefencefund.wordpress.com/
"A fund that exists to hold and give out funds raised to support legal costs, fees, and other associated costs of legal defense for people facing charges stemming from the June 2010 Toronto G20 Summit."