MONTREAL — Two Mohawk men from Kahnawake, near Montreal, have been granted a stay of proceedings in a tobacco smuggling case after a judge ruled their treaty rights were infringed.
Derek White and Hunter Montour were arrested in 2016 as part of a cross-border police operation called Project Mygale in connection with tobacco that was smuggled into Quebec.
Following a trial in 2019, White and Montour were found guilty of criminal offences, including failing to pay taxes on tobbaco products.
But the pair had requested a stay of criminal proceedings, claiming the government had violated their treaty rights and their ancestral rights relating to the tobacco trade.
In a 366-page written decision rendered today, Quebec Superior Court Justice Sophie Bourque concluded that an overarching oral meta-treaty known as the Covenant Chain is binding and guarantees the defedants the right to trade tobbacco.
Bourque ruled that, as a result, the federal Excise Act did not apply against the two men and ordered a stay on the convictions.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2023.
The Canadian Press