Police witnesses take stand in shale gas protesters' trial
Germain Junior Breau, Aaron Francis face a combined 17 charges from last year's shale gas protests
Several police witnesses took the stand in Moncton on Wednesday at the trial of two protesters arrested in the aftermath of last year's violent clashes between New Brunswick RCMP and anti-shale gas activists.
Germain Junior Breau, 21, of Upper Rexton, N.B., and Aaron Francis, 20, of Eskasoni, N.S., both face numerous firearm and assault-related charges dating to Oct. 17, 2013.
Around 40 people were arrested that day, but Breau and Francis were the only two to remain in custody after waiving their bail hearings.
The pair — who face a combined 17 charges — have spent about 23 weeks in jail.
They pleaded guilty to some charges, and are on trial for the others.
Sgt. Pierre Gardiner, a member of the RCMP dog section, testified he was on hand near route 134 near Rexton early on Oct. 17.
He described seeing a slim, agile man wearing a balaclava run through the woods toward the road and throw between five and seven Molotov cocktails.
Gardiner testified the man ran back into the woods after an emergency response team member fired sock rounds at him.
Const. Rob Frenette also took the stand on Wednesday, saying he saw a man with a rifle leaning against a minivan and also the man with the Molotov cocktails run by.
Frenette said he watched the man with the rifle change positions, to the point where the officer thought he would have to shoot him.
Frenette added he recognized the identities of the two men in the video during a debrief on Oct. 30.
He identified Francis as the man throwing the Molotov cocktails and Breau as the man holding the rifle.