Charges pending after Membertou feud erupts in violence

A long-standing feud involving a fishing licence is allegedly behind an attack that left a Membertou First Nation woman with injuries.

2 Membertou band councillors accused of attacking woman and smashing truck with baseball bat

Jonathan and Ashley Paul told CBC News that two Membertou councillors attacked Ashley and smashed the couple's truck with a baseball bat on Tuesday afternoon. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

What is being described as a long-standing feud between some residents of Membertou First Nation on Cape Breton erupted into an altercation outside a couple's home Tuesday that left a woman with injuries.

Ashley and Jonathan Paul said they were attacked by two men who are members of the Membertou band council.

"Two councillors from Membertou came to my street after my husband and they took a bat out of their vehicle and smashed my truck windows," Ashley Paul said in an interview.

"I was thrown into a vehicle. I have bruises throughout my body. My face was swollen."

Paul said she was taken to hospital for treatment.

The back window of Ashley and Jonathan Paul's truck following the altercation on Tuesday afternoon. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

The attack was captured on video that was submitted to Cape Breton Regional Police. CBC News is not naming the councillors because no charges have yet been laid. Attempts to reach them for comment were unsuccessful.

Police confirmed they were called to the couple's house on Maliktuk Court as well as another nearby residence on Wally Bernard Avenue at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

A long-standing feud involving fishing licenses is allegedly behind an attack that left a Membertou woman with injuries. 2:11

Police spokesperson Desiree Vassallo said two separate complaints were made from the two locations and police are trying to piece together the sequence of events.

She said vehicles at both addresses were damaged and one person was taken to Cape Breton Regional Hospital for treatment of minor arm injuries.

Charges are pending, she added.

Cape Breton Regional Police spokesperson Desiree Vassello said charges are pending as a result of the altercation Tuesday at Membertou First Nation. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Vassallo said all parties involved are known to each other and police are treating this as an isolated incident. 

Membertou patrol officers and the forensic identification unit are also assisting with the investigation.

Jonathan Paul said the tension between him and the men they accuse of assault has been ongoing for years.

He blamed it on jealousy over fishing licences.

Membertou Chief Terry Paul said an investigation into the allegations and circumstances surrounding the attack is underway. (CBC)

Ashley Paul wants the men removed from Membertou band council.

"I want a public apology, she said. "They don't represent me or my family."

Membertou Chief Terry Paul said in an email he is looking into the matter.

"At this time, we are obtaining information about the alleged incident and working with the Cape Breton Regional Police, as well as our legal counsel, to deal with the situation effectively," he wrote. 

"We are currently looking into the allegations being made. As information becomes available to us through the Cape Breton Regional Police, a review will take place and appropriate steps will be taken."

With files from Gary Mansfield