Protesters hope to have injunction for Muskrat Falls site overturned – Newfoundland & Labrador

Eldred Davis didn’t set out to question the validity of the Muskrat Falls injunction via the court system, but he unintentionally began the process Wednesday while representing himself on a protest-related matter.

While defending himself over breaking the injunction and trespassing onto the North Spur in May, Davis raised concerns about the origin of the court order requiring people not to enter any part of the Muskrat Falls site or interfere with the project.

He told Happy Valley-Goose Bay Supreme Court Justice George Murphy that when Nalcor applied for the court to intervene in October 2016, the company misled Murphy, and the court, on the facts. However, Davis did not specifically address how the court was misled. 

A lawyer for Nalcor vehemently denied the accusation. 

“When I first saw the injunction, I couldn’t hardly believe it, really,” said Eldred Davis, referencing the time nearly a year ago when the order was produced.

The Muskrat Falls hydroecltric project has employed up to 6,000 people at peak construction, and will account for about one-third of major project spending in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2017. (Nalcor)

“The more I thought about it and the more dishonest I know Nalcor to have been proceeding that, I wondered how the justice system could so quickly accept the application from Nalcor and act on it within a day.”

When, during Wednesday’s proceedings, Justice Murphy asked Davis whether he’d like to challenge the injunction as a defence in his contempt case, Davis said he didn’t realize that was a possibility and that he would like to.

He has admitted to trespassing onto the North Spur May 9 but maintains he shouldn’t be prosecuted for those actions because the injunction shouldn’t have been in effect in the first place. 

Stick to the injunction

Justice Murphy said Davis is to argue the validity of the injunction only — not whether the project should have been sanctioned.

However, Davis said he doesn’t feel the two can be isolated.

Eldred Davis, left, was one of the three protesters jailed late last month. (Katie Breen/CBC)

“[Justice Murphy] may have said it’s a separate issue but when it comes down to it, the injunction is granted on information supplied by Nalcor,” Eldred said.


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