Proceeding against pipeline blockaders put over to April 15

A court proceeding against 14 people arrested at a blockade against the Coastal GasLink pipeline was adjourned Monday to give time to decide whether the contempt of court charges they face should be pursued as a criminal or civil matter.

About 30 people showed up for the hearing at the Prince George courthouse in relation to the January 7 incident that saw RCMP take down a blockade on the Morice Forest Service Road south of Houston.

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The action was carried out after CGL secured an an interim injunction prohibiting protesters from impeding workers as they began pre-construction work on the project.

If built, the $6.2-billion project will deliver natural gas from the B.C. Peace to the LNG Canada liquified natural gas facility planned for a site near Kitimat. Combined, the projects are worth about $40 billion.

On Monday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Church agreed with counsels' request to put the matter over to April 15, in part to give more time to go over disclosure materials but also to give the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch time to decide if it should pursue criminal charges against the 14.

Whether to move to the matter to Smithers and closer to where the defendants live, is also to be up for consideration on that date.

Meanwhile, the deadline for those opposing a permanent injunction against blocking the project was extended to Feb. 20 from Jan. 31, with CGL now given until May 31 to file a response.

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