By Dan Gauthier - Friday, September 8, 2006
His trial date may have been pushed back another month, but Dryden gunsmith and outspoken opponent of the federal Firearms Act, Bruce Montague, is anxious to have to have his day in court.
“Over two years after being charged for ‘illegal possession of firearms’ we will finally get our day in court to address the constitutional issues at hand,” Montague stated in an e-mailed update to his supporters on Saturday.
Montague said his constitutional challenge is set to be heard in Superior Court of Canada in Kenora Oct. 16-20. Originally, his trial by jury was to begin on Sept. 25 in Kenora.
He urged anyone who opposes the Firearms Act as unconstitutional to attend the trial next month to help his cause.
“If you can make it to the court hearings on the week of Oct. 16, we’d love to see you there in support,” said Montague. “Judges are people too, and if they see a large crowd in the court room they will take notice that this is an important issue.”
In addition, Montague made a plea for further financial contributions to his campaign, the Bruce Montague Scrap C-68 Fund.
“This is the first level of court hearings on our constitutional challenge, and our war chest will be severely drained,” said Montague. “Lawyers and expert witnesses cost a lot of money.”
He noted that a lot of time, effort and money is needed to ensure that all Canadians can exercise their rights in the future – not just gun owners.
“My wife and I are just the figureheads in this fight, but it’s really the fight of all Canadians,” Montague explained. “We need to ask Canadians, ‘How much are your rights worth defending?’ If we don’t stand up for our rights, who else is going to do it?”
Montague said they are hoping to raise another $50,000 as they approach the “first round in our defence of our constitutional rights.
“Please contribute generously in this fight for your rights and encourage others to pitch in as well,” Montague pleaded.
As of the end of July, Montague had raised just over $120,000 in the last two years for his legal battle. However, over $50,000 of that money has already been spent in legal fees, leaving him a net balance of just under $70,000 with his trial set to begin next month.
Montague is facing 53 criminal charges for a variety of weapons-related offences including the unauthorized possession and careless storage of non-restricted firearms, explosives and restricted firearms. He was arrested by the Ontario Provincial Police on Sept. 11, 2004 at a Dryden gun show.
His wife Donna is facing three charges: the unauthorized possession of a firearm and two counts of careless storage of a firearm.
With his lawyer Calvin Martin of Toronto, Montague filed a Charter challenge with Ontario Superior Court in Kenora on April 30 and has vowed to take his fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada if necessary.
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