Members of a Sudbury anti-poverty group feel vindicated after being acquitted of trespassing charges on Tuesday.
Eleven members of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty were charged after occupying the office of Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci a year ago.
Their lawyer said their acquittal is not surprising — but it comes at a cost to taxpayers.
Don Kuyek doesn't have a firm number, but said the city has to reimburse the Crown prosecutor's office for the proceedings.
As a result, taxpayers are picking up the cost of the whole trial, but Kuyek said it needn't have happened at all.
“We were prepared to make a donation of $500 to an organization that deals with poverty issues if the crown would withdraw the charges,” he said. “They said ‘no.’”
‘Could have been avoided’
Kuyek further added none of this would have happened if Bartolucci had come out to hear the protesters' concerns about cuts to a program for low-income earners.
“This all could have been avoided ... if Mr. Bartolucci came out of his office … and met my clients for 10-15 minutes,” he said.
One of the protesters, Gary Kinsman, a professor of sociology at Laurentian University, said the coalition remains committed to fighting for programs to help the poor.
“So now we feel completely vindicated in that and we will be engaging in actions like that in the future, if it is required in the situations that we face,” he said.
CBC News phoned Rick Bartolucci's office for comment, but that call was not returned.