Commission of Inquiry Into Matters Releating to the Death of Neil Stonechild

 

COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
INTO MATTERS RELATING TO THE DEATH OF NEIL STONECHILD

APPLICATION OF JASON ROY

The applicant will appear as a witness at the Inquiry. He has indicated, on several occasions, that he has personal knowledge of Neil Stonechild's involvement with members of the Saskatoon Police Service on November 24, 2000.

He has retained counsel. He now applies for funding for his legal representation as a witness. He also seeks standing as a party in the Commission hearings.\

Mr. Roy is unemployed and has no financial resources. Given the potential importance of his evidence his presence as a witness before the Commission is essential. He meets the criteria set by the Commission for funding in his capacity as a witness. I refer to the Terms of Reference and in particular, paragraph 5:

  1. The Commission shall, as an aspect of its duties, determine applications by those parties, if any, or those witnesses, if any, to the public inquiry that apply to the Commission to have their legal counsel paid for by the Commission, and further, determine at what rate such Counsel shall be paid for their services.

RULING AS TO FUNDING

Mr. Roy is entitled to funding with respect to his legal representation as a witness. The funding will apply to the days when Mr. Roy appears as a witness at the Inquiry. Counsel's compensation will apply on the basis of one hour's preparation for each hour of attendance at the Inquiry. Time spent by his counsel at the request of the Commission including Commission counsel or in attending with his client while the client is being interviewed by the Commission counsel may also be billed as preparation
time.

I have reviewed Mr. Winegarden's material and his submission with respect to his hourly rate. Given counsel's experience and length of time at the, Bar, it is appropriate to set his hourly rate at $145.00. If alternate counsel appears for Mr. Winegarden that person's hourly rate will be fixed at $125.00. 

Counsel will submit an invoice to Commission counsel on a monthly basis, the invoice to set out the nature of the work done and disbursements.

RULING AS TO STANDING AS A PARTY

In his affidavit Mr. Roy, after dealing with his role as a potential witness makes these statements:

  1. THAT I have come to believe that the Justice system in Saskatchewan is designed to control First Nations people and not to work on our behalf. I believe there is no avenue for people like myself to inform and direct the actions of the justice system in Saskatchewan.

  2. THAT since the information I have has come to public light, I have spoken with many other First Nation people about the incident in question and about the justice system in general. It is my conclusion that there are many First Nations people like myself who feel alienated from the justice system and who feel that the authorities would rather incarcerate First Nations people than act in their behalf.

  3. THAT I am committed to offer all my personal knowledge and experiences as a First Nations person to help in any investigation into the death of Neil Stonechild and to aid this Commission in drawing its conclusions.

Mr. Roy's offer of assistance is welcome. It appears he can assist the Commission significantly by appearing as a witness.

With respect, there is no evidence he represents, officially or unofficially, First Nations people beyond himself. There are those who do, including the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Mr. Roy is not qualified to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Neil Stonechild or the subsequent investigation.

It is not necessary or appropriate to add Mr. Roy as a party to the inquiry.

CONCLUSION

I appreciate that not every eventuality can be anticipated. Circumstances may require that the bases for funding be re-visited at a later date. Counsel will have leave to apply for directions as they may be advised. Any such application shall be in writing and the other parties shall be served with copies of it. 

Dated at the City of Saskatoon, in the Province of Saskatchewan, this 13th day of June, 2003.

Mr. Justice David H. Wright

Commissioner

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