Chief, former chief who stole from band await sentence
A judge is being asked to approve a non-jail sentence for two First Nations politicians who have pleaded guilty to stealing from their Battlefords-area band.
At the centre of the 10-year-old case are brothers Duane and Ted Antoine, who have each pleaded guilty to stealing $2,500 from the Poundmaker Cree Nation.
Ted Antoine was chief when it happened and Duane Antoine is the chief now.
At a sentencing hearing in North Battleford on Tuesday, the Crown and defence both agreed to recommend a suspended sentence and probation — which would mean no jail time.
It does not bode well: Judge
The Antoines agreed in court to pay back the money, but that got Judge Dan O'Hanlon asking questions.
For example, as chief now, would Duane Antoine not be paying restitution to himself?
Furthermore, should Duane Antoine continue to be in a position of trust and authority?
The judge also said the brothers don't accept full responsibility.
O'Hanlon said he'll think about the sentence proposed by Crown and defence lawyers.
However, speaking directly to the Antoines, he said: "It does not bode well."
He'll give his decision Feb. 1.
It wasn't stealing: Antoine
Outside court, Duane Antoine told CBC News he knows he did something wrong, but does not see it as stealing.
"I do admit that I took the $2,500 — no different from anybody; no different from bonuses," he said. "We give out bonuses, advances."
Nine people took money from the band's treaty land entitlement fund and general revenues.
Eight of the accused have pleaded guilty.
Over the past 20 years, the government has provided treaty land entitlement money to First Nations to correct a historic wrong in which bands were promised land but didn't receive it.
Poundmaker Cree Nation is about 60 kilometres west of the Battlefords.