Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci says he doesn’t regret how he handled a demonstration by protesters in his office last year.
On Nov. 9, 2012, 11 members of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty occupied Bartolucci’s office in protest to cuts to an emergency funding program for low-income earners.
They were arrested and charged with trespassing. But all have now been acquitted by a Sudbury justice of the peace who said there was a lack of evidence in the case.
Bartolucci said in his office, his rules apply.
“The lease is signed by the MPP, and therefore the rules that any office is mandated to enforce, are those set by the MPP,” he said.
“In this instance, whenever my staff feels threatened, I have instructed them — and this isn’t going to change — I have instructed them to contact the police.”
He said his staff said they felt frightened by the protesters.
“I think if you were there, you would have found it — at least my staff found it — a threatening situation so she called police.”
The lawyer representing the protesters said the group had a right to visit their MPP’s office and ask to be heard.
It’s not clear yet whether the Crown will appeal the verdict.