Nfld. & Labrador

Supreme Court dumps Muskrat Falls contempt proceedings against 96-year-old

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland has stopped the contempt of court proceedings against Dorothy Michelin in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Nalcor asked that the court proceedings be stopped

Dorothy Michelin appeared in Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Monday. Contempt proceedings against the 96-year-old have been dropped. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Nalcor Energy has convinced a judge to drop its contempt of court proceedings against a 96-year-old woman — who was accused of breaking a court order by protesting at the Muskrat Falls gate.

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador dismissed the proceedings against Dorothy Michelin in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Monday afternoon, at the request of Nalcor Energy. 

In an application, Nalcor wrote that although the company believed Michelin had broken a court order when it added her name to an injunction in November, "further and better information" revealed she was not breaking the rules.

Gilbert Bennett, a vice president at Nalcor, wrote in an affidavit that a video recording of Michelin at the main gate "indicates that Ms. Michelin's attendance at the main gate was very brief."

"She did not block, hinder or delay anyone seeking entry to or egress from the Muskrat Falls construction site," Bennett wrote.

The Supreme Court granted Nalcor an injunction order in October that prohibited protesting at the Muskrat Falls gate, or blocking access in and out of the project site.

Just taking a photo: Daughter

Michelin was served with an injunction in November, which ordered her to the courthouse on Monday, to explain why she shouldn't be held in contempt of court for allegedly protesting at the Muskrat Falls gate.

She could have faced punishment.

Michelin's daughter told CBC News that she and her mother went for a drive on Nov. 19 to see the water level changes on the Churchill River. When they arrived, her mother posed for photos at the construction site's gate.

"What the heck was I called here for?" Michelin asked as she appeared in court on Monday.

Dorothy Michelin says she wanted her day in court

5 years ago
Duration 0:53
96-year-old Dorothy Michelin says she's upset she went to court on Monday only to be told the contempt proceedings against her would be dropped. 0:53

"So why was I brought here?" she asked when speaking to CBC News after her appearance. "I mean, I didn't do anything and [they] left me two weeks to worry about it."

Despite the dismissal, she says she's still angry with Nalcor.

"[The] Muskrat portage path belongs to us and they tore it down, and they had no right to touch it, not a bit in the world," she said. "Because that was a trapper's path that they used for so long and I hate them for [destroying] it."

With files from Jacob Barker

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