The lawyer for a First Nation chief in British Columbia says his client will “vehemently defend” himself against a charge of sexual interference of a person under the age of 16.
The province’s prosecution service says Roger William of the Xeni Gwet’in is alleged to have committed the offence in Williams Lake, B-C on or about May 12th.
His lawyer, David Rosenberg, described William as a “tremendous leader and devoted community member” who was “greatly saddened” when he heard the accusation.
The service says special prosecutor Brock Martland approved the charge after he was appointed on Monday, because the assistant deputy attorney general considered the matter in the public interest.
Martland is a Vancouver lawyer in private practice and the prosecution service says his mandate is to provide legal advice to RCMP investigators as necessary, and to conduct any related charge assessment as well as the prosecution if charges are approved.
William, a former champion bull rider, was a leading figure in a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision that granted the Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal title to more than 17-hundred square kilometres of land in the Nemiah Valley.
(The Canadian Press)