Crusaders jam Pattullo traffic

Sep 29 2004
BOAZ JOSEPH / THE LEADER Hal Legere, dressed as Robin, climbed atop the Pattullo Bridge on Saturday to draw attention to the plight of divorced dads.

By Julia Caranci
Regional Reporter

A pseudo-superhero managed to single-handedly close one of the busiest bridges in the Lower Mainland for several hours last weekend.
Robin - also known as Hal Legere - donned safety ropes, a harness and a mask at 4 a.m. Saturday and climbed to the top of the Pattullo Bridge, which spans the Fraser River, linking Surrey and New Westminster.
Legere said it was still dark when he made the climb - he had a short nap at the top while waiting for daylight.
The masked crusader then unfurled a banner. Two supporters, Batman and Spiderman, waved signs in support of Legere while standing on a pedestrian overpass below.
Legere and his sidekicks took part in the unusual protest as members of the Canadian branch of Fathers 4 Justice, an organization founded in Britain that, according to its website, pledges to mount a "non-violent direct action campaign for the basic human right of children to enjoy an equal relationship with both parents after divorce or separation."
Police were notified of the protest at 6:30 a.m. and quickly moved in, closing down both sides of the bridge.
Legere said he chose the Pattullo because it is a busy crossing - he hoped to reach as many people as possible, and was disappointed police closed the bridge.
"That was their decision, not mine," he said. "There were no safety issues here. We're not into people getting hurt."
Legere told a negotiator who scaled a fire ladder to reach him that he would remain atop the bridge all weekend. However, he eventually agreed to come down at about 11:30 a.m.
Surrey RCMP Const. Marc Searle said his members were duty-bound to place themselves at risk to aid Legere, and anything could have happened.
"Nobility of cause does not obscure social responsibility," Searle said, adding the closure of the bridge was a frustration for drivers and could have severely hampered the progress of emergency vehicles.
The action also tied up police, fire and coast guard personnel for the entire morning.
A charge of mischief has been recommended to Crown counsel.
Legere said his actions were necessary to focus attention on the issue of fathers' rights.
After separating from his wife in 1998, Legere said it took $140,000 in legal fees (on both sides) and four years to work out a satisfactory custody arrangement for his children.
He wants legislation passed in B.C. that allows for shared custody by both parents, provided they are fit, and in the absence of another agreement.
"This is going to continue and it's going to grow. This is just the beginning."