Sunday, April 27, 2003

Human Rights to the Court

Wescam protesters acquitted

Three men arrested for trespassing following an anti-war demonstration in December at Wescam were acquitted last week following a one-day trial in Burlington court. 

Andrew Loucks, David Jefferess and Matthew Behrens were part of a 25-person protest Dec.10, 2002 at the local high-tech company located at 649 North Service Rd. 

Loucks said the group was there to request a meeting with Wescam officials to discuss the belief the company's technology might contribute to what was then an impending war in Iraq. 

Following a brief protest the men were arrested by Halton police and charged with trespassing. 

They were acquitted last week before Justice of the Peace Barry Quinn. 

Loucks, who is from Hamilton, said the trio is happy with the acquittal and plans to continue protesting. 

"We're definitely going to continue, people have been continuing in Burlington," he said. "There are a couple of folks who are there pretty much every night just raising the issue to folks who happen to drive by."

Jefferess is also from Hamilton, while Behrens lives in Toronto. 

Wescam - one of the city's best-known companies - designs and manufactures high-tech camera equipment. 

Bruce Latimer, Wescam's vice-president of corporate development said the company accepts the court's decision. 

"I think Mr. Justice Quinn provided a well-reasoned decision based on the evidence that was placed before him," he said. 

In response to the protest in December, Latimer told the Post details about the company, its products and clients are available online at and noted while the company produces high-tech camera equipment for military uses, it also makes cameras for other purposes. 

"We run the full gamut from sporting search and rescue operations," he said. Latimer also noted Wescam has a long history of service in the Golden Horseshoe area. 

"We have been a proud member of the Hamilton/Burlington community for 25 years," he said. 

"The tragic events of Sept. 11 have highlighted what we do but it hasn't changed the business."

By Robb Swybrous, Burlington Post Staff.

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