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By Hempology | April 27, 2006

B.C.’s Pot King: Federal Attorney General wants today’s hearing closed to media and public; local lawyer arguing AG has no place in the case

A surprise last-minute request from Ottawa has stirred up yet more drama in a Slocan Valley man’s effort to charge B.C. pot king Marc Emery with conspiracy to break U.S. he is wanted on charges of conspiracy to launder money and distribute marijuana and marijuana seeds.

Winlaw resident Paddy Roberts and his lawyer Don Skogstad are trying to keep the federal Attorney General out of the case, which Roberts says the AG wants to stay. The move would clear the way to Emery’s extradition.

Roberts and Skogstad are scheduled to make their case against the AG today in Nelson’s B.C. Supreme Court. But Friday, in a move that Roberts calls “highly unusual,” federal Attorney General reps from Vancouver asked that today’s proceedings be closed to media, the public and even other lawyers.

Skogstad says he doesn’t know why the AG would make the request.

“Obviously they’d be freer to talk about things in a closed courtroom,” Skogstad told the NDN Sunday.

“There may be something they’d like to say to the judge that they don’t want to say to the public.”

“This has to be seen by the public,” Roberts insists.

In a letter sent to Skogstad and the court Friday, the Attorney General’s office contested that because a previous hearing regarding Roberts’ evidence against Emery was held behind closed doors, today’s hearing should be closed too. That hearing was held in Nelson last August.

But Skogstad argues that Monday’s hearing has nothing to do with the case against Emery specifically.

“We’re just trying to get the federal Attorney General to stay out of the case. We believe there are no grounds for them to intervene.”

The local lawyer says there are precedent setting cases that back his argument that the federal AG can’t be involved in Roberts’ case against Emery. Skogstad says it’s possible some media outlets may legally argue against the last minute request. The Globe and Mail and Vancouver Province are covering the case.

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