Friends of ecowarrior, women’s rights advocate, and great-grandmother Betty Krawczyk are outraged over the Crown’s response to her appeal of a previously served 10-month sentence.
In an interview with the Straight on September 22, Monika Marcovici decried as ridiculous the move by provincial government lawyers to liken the 82-year-old activist’s legal situation to those of two convicted pedophiles who abused their own children.
“It’s an insult to the judicial system to make that sort of parallel between somebody that is protecting our forests and our streams and has advocated for the rights of women over many years,” Marcovici said. “Being compared to two pedophiles, I think it’s completely ludicrous and makes a mockery of our courts.”
In September 2007, Krawczyk stepped out of the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women after serving seven months behind bars for criminal contempt of court.
She was sent to prison for defying a court injunction to stay away from West Vancouver’s Eagleridge Bluffs, which were being bulldozed to widen the Sea-to-Sky Highway ahead of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
According to Marcovici, Krawczyk is appealing on principle before the B.C. Court of Appeal the sentence she has already served.
As Krawczyk explained in a post on her blog on September 18, the Crown in response cited rulings on two pedophilia cases. In one, the appeal judge noted that when a person is convicted of a serious crime and at the same time suffers from some mental or personality disorder, but cannot be confined in a mental institution, the appropriate sentence is life imprisonment.
Krawczyk has served other prison sentences during her many years of environmental activism.
“They’re making the comparison that she’s an unreformable criminal, a repeat offender,” Marcovici said.
Marcovici spoke to the Straight by phone while she and other supporters of Krawczyk were holding a rally outside the courthouse in Vancouver.
At the protest was another grizzled environmental warrior, Rex Weyler, a cofounder of Greenpeace International.
In a phone interview also from the rally, Weyler told the Straight that Krawczyk’s case is about a citizen who dared to stand up for the environment and is being treated poorly by government.