Today the news media reported that environmental activist (some say eco-terrorist) Wiebo Ludwig, was arrested by the RCMP but has not yet been criminally charged related to the EnCana pipeline bombings near Dawson Creek, BC. Paul Moreau, a lawyer who has represent Wiebo in the past, expected him to be charged with extortion. While Wiebo is in custody, Bloomberg reports that 30 RCMP have been granted an unprecedented 5 day search warrant of his farm near Hythe, AB.
The suggestion of his lawyer that Wiebo will be charged with extortion, rather than a charge more directly related to the destruction of EnCana's property sounds like the RCMP are on a five day fishing expedition. Watch for the RCMP to find "bomb making materials" on the Trickle Creek farm (e.g. fertilizer, bleach, kerosene.) Also, don't be surprised if the police find a firearm on the property, which they will attempt to connect to his alleged extortion in order to guarantee a minimum 5 years sentence.
The charge of extortion in the Criminal Code states:
346. (1) Every one commits extortion who, without reasonable justification or excuse and with intent to obtain anything, by threats, accusations, menaces or violence induces or attempts to induce any person, whether or not he is the person threatened, accused or menaced or to whom violence is shown, to do anything or cause anything to be done.
If charged with extortion, the Crown will attempt to prove that the EnCana bomber was induced by Wiebo to commit his crime. Watch for the Crown to produce threatening letters from an unknown person, (perhaps with intimate details of the crime) that they will claim directly or indirectly implicates Wiebo as being the inspiration for the bombings. The nature of the charge of extortion may allow for blunt offhanded accusations of Wiebo (whom I know does not mince words), along the hypothetical lines of "oil companies like EnCana have been hurting people and our environment for years," and "it might take more bombings to wake up this industry," to be considered the incitement necessary to convict him of this offense.
Speaking from my acquaintance with Mr. Ludwig, I have no reservation about assuming his innocence prior to a trial. Wiebo has become far more sophisticated in his activism, choosing the pen and tongue over the sword since his previous criminal conviction. I just hope the criminal justice system won't interpret his occasional lack of tact and diplomacy as an incitement to violence worthy of an extortion conviction.