Yukon prospector vows to take space rock fight to top court
A Yukon man says he plans to take his lengthy court battle with Ottawa over missing rock samples to the Supreme Court of Canada, after the Yukon Court of Appeal dismissed his request Tuesday for a new judge.
Prospector Dan Sabo has been in a six-year civil lawsuit to recover rock samples that he alleges are from a meteorite, claiming that federal geologists stole the rock pieces that he found in the Yukon wilderness in the 1980s.
Sabo had asked for a new judge after accusing Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale, who has been presiding over the case since 2002, of being biased against him.
But on Tuesday, justices on the Yukon Appeal Court said they've read transcripts from previous court hearings and concluded that Sabo's accusations against Veale are unfounded. In fact, the judges stated that Veale had been more than patient with Sabo's case.
Sabo has said he found what he says are meteorite samples in 1986, and submitted them to the Geological Survey of Canada office in Whitehorse in 1999 for analysis.
Sabo claims federal authorities have since refused to return all the samples to him. He filed his lawsuit with the Yukon Supreme Court in 2002, but it has yet to go to trial.
In its decision Tuesday, the Court of Appeal refused to rule on Sabo's demand that the federal government return his rock samples, saying they were only in a position to rule on whether a new judge should be assigned to his case.
Sabo has represented himself in the court case, saying he doesn't have a lawyer because of his indigent status. Declaring indigent status has exempted Sabo from paying court fees throughout the trial.
Appearing before the appeals court last week, Sabo alleged that Veale has trivialized his case and allowed testimony from government witnesses who Sabo believes are not credible.
Sabo also claimed that comments Veale made about Sabo's inability to support himself shows his bias against him.
Federal lawyers insisted that Veale has prejudged nothing and remains open-minded about the case.