Two Greenpeace activists who scaled the CN Tower last summer and unfurled a massive banner in a stunt that drew international media coverage pleaded guilty yesterday to public mischief.
Briton Christopher Holden, 24, and Montrealer Steven Guilbeault, 32, received conditional discharges and agreed to pay $3,000 to the tower's corporate owner as compensation for the security and staff costs it incurred.
Although a prosecutor told an Ontario Court judge the two men were "remorseful," both expressed jubilation outside court about having drawn public attention to global climate change and the need to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.
"This was the climax of my efforts so far," said Mr. Holden, who has worked as an industrial climber in England and who used his skills to hoist a 15-metre square banner proclaiming "Canada and Bush -- Climate Killers" 350 metres into the air.
Mr. Guilbeault told reporters that the climb helped raise public awareness about climate change and he believes it influenced Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's decision to commit Canada to ratifying the Kyoto accord on global warming.
The Canadian National Tower corporation suffered $50,000 in losses from the stunt, Crown prosecutor Calvin Barry told the court.
That estimate included $35,000 lost when it cut ticket prices in half for six hours on July 16, 2001, because one side of the observation deck was sealed off by security to allow police and firefighters to monitor the safety of the protesters.
Mr. Guilbeault was placed on one year's probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service in Montreal, where he works for Greenpeace, and pay $1,000 of the $3,000 restitution.
Mr. Holden will pay $2,000 and was ordered to report once to a probation officer before returning to Egypt, where he now lives.