Published at http://www.santodaime.org/community/news/canada2.htm
The intention of this letter is to clarify discrepancies in documents previously posted on the Santo Daime web site.
May 10, 2003
To Whom It May Concern,
The information concerning the Uyunkar’s judicial process currently posted on the Santo Daime web site and internationally transmitted via e-mail, is not fully accurate to either the “Agreed Statement of Facts” as submitted in the judicial process or Justice Michel’s “Reasons for Sentence.” These two documents are the actual recordings of the court.
Contrary to the report written by Hugues Bonenfant and Debora Bolsanello entitled: Canada: the Uyunkars’ sentence (post April 25, 2003) and that written by Debora Bolsanello entitled: AN IMPORTANT LEGAL CASE AGAINST THE SACRAMENT AYAHUASCA IN CANADA (March 10, 2003), the sacrament of the Santo Daime and Uniao do Vegetal was never on trial. With respect to the various traditional medicines used by many shamans and healers in various ceremonies and rituals it is important to make the distinction between the sacrament of our churches and the medicines used in Uyunkar ceremonies.
In the words of Mr. Trudel, lawyer for Juan Uyunkar: “On April 24, 2003 Juan and Edgar Uyunkar pleaded guilty before the Honourable Mr. Justice Gerald E. Michel of the Ontario Court of Justice to one count of administering a noxious substance and one count of trafficking in a controlled substance. Following the guilty plea, all other charges against the Uyunkars were withdrawn. There had been a couple of intensive judicial pre-trials.”
In the words of Justice Michel: “These two persons are not before the court for having administered sacred medicine. Sacred medicines, in different forms are administered almost throughout the world by Shaman or natural healers. They are before the court because the ingredients used on these occasions contained substances prohibited in Canada and the combination of substances, which made the potion toxic.
This toxic substance, having been ingested by Jane Maiangowi made her ill, weakened, unconscious and finally without life. Why it had this effect on this person more than on the others we don’t know. What we know is that the severity of the situation was not recognized by the accused, and no remedial action, namely calling an ambulance or doctor was done at the earliest possible moment. This may be due to the fact, as related by the testimonials of numerous, very informed people, that what happened to Jane Maiangowi was not known to happen to participants in the past (pg. 5 & 6)…
…In the case of Juan Uyunkar, whom I am satisfied is the principle in these ceremonies and consequences, in addition to the time you have suffered up to today, it is necessary that in order to bring home to all natural healers that they have to be careful with reference to substances and consequences I am sentencing you to a conditional sentence of 12 months, followed by 12 months of probation (pg. 16)…
…The court is satisfied that at no time did the accused intend to hurt anyone and at no time did the accused set out to benefit from performing these ceremonies. (pg. 10)”
However, coroner J.M. Doucet, MD FRCPC, declared the cause of death as acute nicotine intoxication. (report of post mortem examination pg.4)
We invite those who are interested in the full facts of this difficult case to read the Ontario Court of Justice transcript of Her Majesty the Queen vs Juan Uyunkar and Edgar Uyunkar, the Report of Post Mortem Examination, and Agreed Statement of Facts Crown Attourney District of Manitoulin.
We extend our sympathies to the family of the deceased, Jane Maiangowi, a Wikwemikong Elder. We also offer our sympathies to the community of Wikwemikong for their losses and this difficult period of time. Our understanding from reading the facts concerning this case, is that the Uyunkars are sincere individuals who came to Canada with good intentions. The tragic and complicated circumstances of this case further emphasize the necessity for accountability in all aspects of the use of sacred medicines in sacred and healing rituals.
In the spirit of love, harmony, truth, and justice,
Board of Directors
Ceu Do Montreal
Per Jessica Williams Rochester