Arrested Canadians I.D.’s still not official

Drug bust that saw Canadians arrested in New Caledonia widely assumed to be from the Okanagan and Similkameen

Eight weeks after the arrest of three Canadians off the coast of New Caledonia, French authorities remain silent as to the identification of the three.

It is widely assumed at this point that the three were residents of the Okanagan-Similkameen. An article in the June 3 edition of the Vancouver Province revealed three names, but as yet there is no official confirmation of the identities.

John Babcock, Director of Communication for the Ministry of Consular Affairs told the Review on June 4 that the ministry remains limited as to what they can say about the case.

“Consular officials in Australia and New Caledonia are providing consular services,” he told the Review, noting that consular officials are addressing issues pertaining to any health concerns those in detention might have, and ensuring that the justice system is followed in a timely, transparent process.

Babcock could not provide details regarding the workings of the French justice system, but noted that in some countries a philosophy of “guilty until proven innocent exists, opposite to the Canadian justice system. It could take months – or longer – before the three Canadians go to trial.

(The French judicial system is based on the Napoleonic Code, meaning that under laws in that country, one is presumed guilty until proven innocent.)