Former Tribal Chief Acquitted Of All Gambling Charges

By Ben Hamill - November 29 2019

Former Sheshatsiu Innu First Nations Chief Andrew Penashue has been exonerated of all charges previously instituted against him by a local court in Happy-Valley Goose Bay. The charges, totalling at least 9 in total and relating to everything from the facilitation of money-laundering to having had contravened the Lottery Act of Newfoundland and Labrador, were first brought against the former tribal leader following a Royal Canadian Mounted Police raid during the month of September of 2018.

On the premises at the time assumed to have been under the control of Penashue law enforcement officials discovered various unlicensed Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs), a Bingo machine (supposedly also not licensed by any governing body), and an ATM for easy money access. The raid also unearthed a number of firearms.

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He Stuck To His Story

Penashue all throughout the court proceedings, which involved various appearances, the giving of testimony, etc., maintained his innocence and stuck with his initial claim of non-involvement, despite the incriminating nature of the averments brought before court.

The exact nature of the facts to have eventually proved Penashue’s innocence isn’t yet known, but the relevant authorities have confirmed that a complete acquittal is on the cards. The same goes for the fate of the woman formerly assumed to have been the ex-chief’s co-conspirator in the context of an illegal gambling den operation, namely Mary Gregoire, in that no further information has been made public.

Penashue was quick to proclaim his victory and proclaimed innocence on social media following his last appearance at court. He also at the time of his online announcement thanked his wife, family and friends for their unwavering support throughout.

ALC’s Woes Far From Over

The class action lawsuit brought against the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC); also involving VLTs; remains very much alive and ongoing. At least 30,000 individuals have joined forces and are accusing the ALC of distributing and overseeing gaming machines designed to purposefully deceive and create an addiction to gambling.

If the court were to find that the crown corporation is guilty of the allegations brought against it, it will stand to lose millions in refundable compensation payable to those who are able to prove having suffered harm as a result of VLTs under its direct control.

The lawsuit was first instituted against the corporation back in 2012 and has now reached the level of the Supreme Court of Canada. The ALC has at various points throughout the course of the proceedings applied for a complete dismissal of the case.

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