First Nations Woman and Her Husband To Challenge His Banishment From Curve Lake Reserve
TORONTO, Nov. 22 – Donna Shilling, a status member of the Curve Lake First Nation, returned to her home Reserve four and a half years ago and built a thriving convenience store and marina with her husband, Rick Hayes.
After cooperating fully with a brief investigation, Mr. Hayes pleaded guilty on September 26, 2007 to possessing a telescoping baton “for a dangerous purpose” – protecting his store against break-ins – and to possessing $300 in proceeds of crime and marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. In the course of his plea, Mr. Hayes explained he had only four customers. All of them use marijuana medically, though unlicensed to do so, for cancer, alcoholism and multiple sclerosis. He was sentenced to an $1150 fine and surcharge, a $300 forfeiture order and non-reporting probation for one year. Two weeks later, the Curve Lake First Nation Band Council suddenly banned Mr. Hayes, who is white, from the Reserve because of this criminal conviction. He was given only 12 hours to leave his home and business, no longer to “reside or set foot” there. Neither Mr. Hayes nor Ms. Shilling received any advance notice that the Band Council might take such a decision.
Ms. Shilling’s and Mr. Hayes’ business, and their life together, has been devastated by the Curve Lake Band Council’s sudden and unjust decision to evict and banish Mr. Hayes in response to his first and only criminal conviction.
Lawyers Clayton Ruby and Jessica Orkin will take questions from the press on Monday, November 26, when they will bring a motion for an injunction allowing Rick Hayes to return to his home and livelihood, pending the outcome of his and Ms. Shilling’s case to quash the banning order of the Curve Lake Band Council.
For further information: JESSICA ORKIN OR TANYA GWEN THOMPSON AT (416) 964-9664