Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Don't Waste Resources On Weeding Out This Plant

OUR villians of today are tomorrow's heroes!

CN BC: PUB LTE: Don't Waste Resources On Weeding Out This Plant
Newshawk: Herb
Rate this article Votes: 1
Pubdate: Tue, 31 May 2005
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Hacker Press Ltd.
Author: John Patrick
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Walters, John)


Editor, The News:

I'm sorry, but the boonie-bias and outright bigotry - with total lack of regard for personal freedom, liberty, or hard-fought-for democratic right, law or even due process - shown by the unsigned opinion piece "Pot party's latest antics a shot at taxpayers" ( The News, May 26, Viewpoint ) forced me to write with vigor.

This is such a typical example of the kind of tripe repeatedly generated by the Valley's closed-minded liberally under-educated press. I cannot believe the local papers represent the local communities in their business and police-vantage, vigilante viewpoints. Folks just ain't that stupid - even in the 'burbs.

Even here in East Van we're not that dumb, and readers' IQ's would surpass whatever quotient these community editors have set. A system preoccupied in a war against a plant diverts precious resources from more serious issues and crime.

We all need protection against those that seek to harm us, our loved ones, and the vulnerable but given such a finite resource as our tax dollar, shouldn't priority be given to violent crimes rather than controlling which plants a gardener grows?

Willy's pig farm is part of the fallout of the war on drugs and should be examined further to show what a complete failure the drug civil war is.

Opportunists like the "US Drug Czar" John Walters and "B.C.'s Top Cop" Rich Coleman use drug war media hysteria to advance their careers.

If prohibition is repealed and the herb is available in regulated coffee shops, herb stores and pharmacies, people wouldn't be offered meth, crack and heroin by the black market like they are now.

With no war, fewer victims would get hooked on hard drugs.

If they did, they could go to the doctor to get their drugs instead of a pimp or instead of prostituting themselves or instead of committing violent crimes to get their fix and shoot up in an alley with puddle water.

I've even seen hard drug addicts and alcoholics wean off their self-destruction by using pot.

Decades ahead, when this reefer madness has ended and the US/DEA/CIA drug war dragon has been slain, then Tim Felger, Don Briere, Emery and the others your papers vilify in print will be revered by the new generations and celebrated for their "heroism" in the time of drug-war peace, while your opinions will be remembered only as laughable lies.

Police, politicians and media against legalization support organized crime.

It is their bread and butter, so why not?

John Patrick Gordon

Monday, September 12, 2005

Judge shows justice isn't blind to love

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Judge shows justice isn't blind to love

Court allows couple who ran the infamous Da Kine Cafe to reunite while they await trial

Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun

Carol Gwilt and Don Briere give each other a hug after a judge lifted her bail restriction.

The B.C. legal system stepped aside for Cupid Friday, lifting a months-long no-contact restriction on the couple who ran the infamous Da Kine Cafe and now face marijuana charges.

Carol Gwilt, the accused owner-operator of the defunct, marijuana-dispensing Commercial Drive cafe, left the courthouse and threw herself into the arms of convicted pot kingpin Don Briere.

"At last," she cooed, kissing him.

"Cool," said Briere.

For months, the couple, who have been lovers for about 21/2 years, were prohibited from physical contact as a result of separate bail restrictions imposed while each awaited trial on drug charges.

The 38-year-old Gwilt faces one trial in November and another trial date remains to be set in connection with her role in the east side cafe.

The 54-year-old Briere has a trial date next spring on charges of possession of marijuana.

At the time of his arrest last September, he was on parole from a four-year stretch for marijuana production, money-laundering and weapons offences.

As a result, he was returned to federal prison.

Scheduled for mandatory release in June, Briere was granted bail and freed to await trial on the latest charges.

His contact with several people, including Gwilt, was restricted at that time.

But B.C. Supreme Court Judge Selwyn Romilly, upon hearing Briere was being kept from his lover, agreed Monday to relax his bail conditions.

He said he did not want to stand in the way of true love -- a decision that paved the way for Gwilt to seek an easing of a similar restriction in her bail conditions.

Initially, it was unclear how Provincial Court Judge Herb Weitzel was leaning, especially after he quipped with a straight face: "Mr. Justice Romilly always has been a romantic."

Gwilt said afterwards she was sure he was going to turn her down.

"Four minutes before the end," she told Briere, "I thought it was 'No.' You're such a bad dude. At least they didn't mention the weapons."

When Briere was arrested in 1999 as the mastermind of a massive marijuana growing organization, police seized a submachinegun and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

But Weitzel noted the judge who originally set Gwilt's bail conditions last October allowed the couple to talk on the phone, so he figured there was no problem about them concocting a story.

Nor did Weitzel at the end of the 20-minute hearing feel there was a public-safety issue.

"In my view, it is appropriate to remove the condition from the undertaking," he said, in spite of the Crown's argument it should be maintained given Briere's record and the seriousness of the charges.

Gwilt, who had sat nervous and twitchy, broke into a grin and her shoulders, tight with tension as she awaited the decision, slumped in relief.

Still, Weitzel felt the need to warn her.

"You are both well-known public figures," he said, and police will quickly move in should either engage in any drug activity."

Briere is running for city council in Vancouver and Gwilt is planning to work on his campaign. Both are pot activists and former candidates for the B.C. Marijuana Party in the provincial election.

Outside 222 Main Street, Gwilt and Briere lustily embraced -- each grinning from ear to ear amid the ever-present din of the Downtown East side emergency sirens.

Briere said he hoped to take his love for a nice dinner.

Asked what she was looking forward to, Gwilt quipped: "Never mind."

Her lawyer Jason Gratl grinned: "A lovely result -- all of a sudden it seems like spring is in the air."



Judge sets aside bail conditions for the sake of love

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Judge sets aside bail conditions for the sake of love

Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun

B.C. Supreme Court Judge Selwyn Romilly said Monday he wouldn't stand in the way of true love or the electoral process and relaxed bail conditions on Don Briere, convicted drug kingpin, accused marijuana supplier of the infamous Da Kine Cafe, and pot politician.

Flashing a thumbs up from the prisoner's dock to a handful of supporters, Briere was ecstatic at the ruling that will allow him to run for Vancouver city council in November and paves the way for him to see his lover Carol Gwilt, who also faces drug and money-laundering charges for her role at the Commercial Drive cafe.

"I can't believe it," he said. "It's great, really great."

As conditions of his release on bail earlier this year while awaiting trial, Briere was banned from the City of Vancouver except to see his lawyer or attend court. He was also restricted from seeing several people, including Gwilt.

They have been separated since their separate arrests last fall.

Romilly initially imposed the conditions on Briere June 6 when he was granted mandatory release from federal prison, where he was serving a four-year stretch for marijuana production, money-laundering and weapons offences.

He was described at the time by the RCMP as one of the biggest drug lords in Western Canada, managing a network of growing operations that spanned the province, earning millions of dollars that were washed through a Burns Lake financial office.

Briere got involved in Da Kine shortly after being released on parole for those offences, and was returned to jail on his arrest in September.

However, he is also a marijuana activist and politician who has run in two elections -- the last as the first provincial candidate to run from inside a federal penitentiary.

His lawyer Richard Levenson told Romilly that Briere wanted the geographic restriction in his bail conditions relaxed so he could run for council and he outlined the seriousness with which Briere had conducted his previous campaigns.

"I thought you couldn't run for office with a prior conviction -- shows you I'm just right out of the loop," Romilly quipped.

In 2002, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the law that stripped the right to vote from inmates sentenced for serious offences, and there now is no law precluding prisoners from running in an election provided they meet the normal nomination criteria.

"A noble purpose," Romilly said, dismissing the Crown's objections, "a very noble purpose indeed. While I'm tempted to maintain my original terms, because of the purpose for which he wishes to have this term of release deleted, I'm satisfied the deletion should take place. I'm going to amend my original order."

With an initial victory in hand, Levenson then asked Romilly if he might stretch his luck and also have removed the restriction on contact with Gwilt.

"This is his lover," the judge asked surprised.

"Yes," Levenson said.

"And still his lover?" Romilly prodded.

"That would violate your conditions," Levenson replied lightly.

Romilly had imposed his original order expecting Briere already to have been tried and the bail conditions by this point moot.

But his trial now is slated to begin next spring.

"[Maintaining the condition] would mean he has to be without his lady love until next year?" Romilly asked.

Levenson nodded.

"I think the term should be removed," the judge said.

Briere beamed.

He left court to organize his campaign, but he still couldn't call his sweetie.

Gwilt was as happy as Briere when I called her.

"Oh, God," she repeated several times. "Oh, God, that's just great. You've got to excuse me, Ian, I've got to go dance."

Before the couple can embrace, provincial court Judge William Kitchen must agree to repeal the reciprocal restriction of contact he imposed on Gwilt.