John Graham team vows to fight on
By Matthew Burrows
The Georgia Straight (Vancouver, Canada)
Publish Date: June 28, 2007
The lawyers representing Southern Tuchone Native John Graham told the Straight they plan to fight his extradition on a U.S. indictment all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Greg DelBigio and Terry LaLiberté acted as Graham’s defence counsel at the B.C. Court of Appeal June 26. Graham was appealing his initial extradition, granted by the B.C. Supreme Court and former federal justice minister Irwin Cotler in February 2005. The latest appeal was dismissed unanimously by the three-person panel at a packed courthouse. Speaking the same day, LaLiberté said, “We definitely don’t want it to end here.”
Yukon-born Graham is wanted for first-degree murder in the 1976 execution-style killing of Nova Scotia Micmac and American Indian Movement member Anna Mae Pictou Aquash on the Pine Ridge reserve in South Dakota. Graham, who has always maintained his innocence, has 30 days to seek leave to appeal at Canada’s top court.
According to LaLiberté, there has been an “error at the Court of Appeal”.
“Now we have to find out if it’s serious enough to go to the Supreme Court of Canada,” he told the Straight by phone.
On July 21, 2006, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on a landmark extradition case between the U.S. and Shane Tyrone Ferras, to which both lawyers referred.
“If there is a divergence of view between courts of appeal from different provinces, then sometimes that increases the chances that leave will be granted [to go to the top court],” DelBigio told the Straight . “Interestingly, the decision adopts a somewhat different approach to extradition law–in particular to the interpretation of the leading Supreme Court of Canada decision [Ferras]–than the Ontario Court of Appeal. On initial reflection, there does appear to be that kind of divergence or discrepancy of opinion on an important issue.”