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Danny Glover Convicted Of Trespassing On Thursday

Article clipped from the St. Catharines Standard

Actor and civil-rights activist Danny Glover had no right to use the lobby of a hotel in Niagara Falls as a pulpit during a union rally, a justice of the peace ruled Thursday in convicting him on a trespassing charge.

Glover, best known for starring in the Lethal Weapon movies, had been charged following a union rally at the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel on Sept. 16, 2006.

The 61-year-old actor, who was not in court Thursday, was convicted along with union representative Alex Dagg and Ontario Federation of Labour president Wayne Samuelson. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 8.

The defence lawyer requested a $5 fine as a penalty, but that was rejected by the prosecution. Prosecutor John Lefurgey said a more appropriate fine would be between $400 and $500 for each of the three defendants.

Lefurgey also asked the court to order the defendants to reimburse Canadian Niagara Hotels $22,000 in legal fees.

The amount isn’t unreasonable, he said.

Defence lawyer Frank Addario strongly disagreed.

“We object to paying $22,000 for the privilege of being prosecuted.” Justice of the peace Moira Moses ruled there was nothing wrong with the demonstration that took place outside the hotel that afternoon. She acknowledged the union and Canadian Niagara Hotels have a “fractious relationship” and there had been ongoing problems between the two parties.

But while the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states people can attend a rally or voice their concern over what they feel is an injustice, they cannot do so on private property, Moses said.

“They should have left immediately after being told to do so,” she said.

At one point during the rally, all of which was captured on video, Glover, Dagg and Samuelson entered the lobby and asked to speak to a member of the DiCienzo family, the owners of the hotel.

They refused an initial request to leave the premises and hotel staff then called police.

While police were called, no criminal charges were laid. Glover, Dagg and Samuelson were later charged privately by the hotel.

“It is sad that even though the police acknowledged everyone was well-behaved and did not press charges, a rich and powerful company can pay to go forward with a private prosecution,” Dagg said.

A fourth person, union organizer Catalina Gonzalez, was also charged, but Moses ruled she did not enter the hotel.

Lefurgey said his clients were happy with the “very well-reasoned” decision.

“Their biggest concern was people coming inside the hotel,” he said. “People should not be allowed to come inside and then refuse to leave. You can’t say to one particular group that the rules don’t apply to them.”

He said the DiCienzo family would have preferred not to prosecute, but they felt they had no choice after a video of the rally showed a union representative warning of future protests.

“What else are they going to do?” Lefurgey asked. “They can’t just wait there, sitting on their hands, for something to happen.”

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