mikmaqnews Main Page
Fisheries Officer Says He Has Constant Headaches
Wayne Thompson testified Wednesday that a rock the size of a baseball whizzed past him on Aug. 22, 2000 and struck fellow fisheries officer Dominque Benoit just below the right eye as they were standing on a fisheries patrol vessel on Miramichi Bay.
Mr. Thompson, detachment supervisor for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at Neguac, testified in the Court of Queen's Bench on the first day of a two-day sentencing hearing for John David Dedam of Burnt Church First Nation, who pleaded guilty on Feb. 5 to aggravated assault.
Mr. Dedam, standing up in an small open boat powered by an outboard motor, threw the rock during a showdown between the federal government and Burnt Church First Nation over who would govern the aboriginal lobster fishery.
Mr. Benoit, Mr. Thompson and two others stood on a Rosborough boat, one of about a dozen craft on the water that morning to pull any lobster traps without DFO tags from the water. The Mi'kmaq took to the water in much smaller craft to challenge their right to do so.
Mr. Benoit, who only started work for the department the month before the assault, did not return to work until December, and he still might need an operation some day to stop the constant headaches that still plague him.
He testified Wednesday he was on his way to the back of the fisheries boat to help a fellow fisheries officer remove a length of clothes line that the challengers on the water wrapped around the engine to foul the propeller.
Mr. Benoit said Mr. Dedam attempted to grab a lobster trap from the DFO boat.
"I remember once him looking me straight in the eye and said, 'I'm going to kill you,'Ê" Mr. Benoit said.
After the rock struck Mr. Benoit, Mr. Thompson took him to the cabin of the boat. Mr. Breault took the boat out of the area to transfer the injured officer to a faster craft that could take him to medical assistance on shore.
He was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Tracadie-Sheila and was subsequently went to the hospital in Bathurst where doctors diagnosed a broken eye socket and cheekbone.
He was later airlifted to Montreal where doctors identified a serious infection that could have killed him. He stayed in the hospital in Montreal for about two weeks until his discharge on Sept. 7. He returned to work in December, but needed an operation in May, 2001, to clear his blocked sinuses.
Mr. Thompson said since Aug. 22, 2000, Fisheries and Oceans issues helmets and shields to officers on trap-hauling operations off Burnt Church, and places two lines of boats between the officers hauling the traps and the Mi'kmaq challengers.
The sentencing hearing resumes at the Northumberland County Court House at 9:30 a.m. for Mr. Dedam, who remains in custody.
[If you got here from frontpage Native News Online, click here to return: http://22.214.171.124/
Reprinted under the Fair Use http://nativenewsonline.org/fairuse.htm
Tsonkwadiyonrat (We are ONE Spirit)
Native News Online
a Service of Barefoot Connection
FREE LEONARD PELTIER!! "YOU ~ARE~ THE MESSAGE"
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]