Meteorite conspiracy could be on the rocks

Yukon miner Daniel Sabo is “99 per cent sure” the Yukon Supreme Court will order delivery of a chunk of meteorite that federal…

Yukon miner Daniel Sabo is “99 per cent sure” the Yukon Supreme Court will order delivery of a chunk of meteorite that federal authorities refuse to surrender.

Sabo intends to use the hunk of interstellar material as evidence that authorities, in 1999, stole his meteorite and replaced it with a carefully sculpted fake.

If the meteorite in his possession is a fake, and the government held off-cut is also a fake and if he can prove that by showing that the two are composed of different materials, he has a good basis for fraud charges.

The National Geological Survey in Ottawa, which has custody of the off-cut, has flatly refused to surrender it to Sabo under any circumstances — unless, of course, the Yukon Supreme Court forces the issue.

 “I’m having difficulty recognizing the legal basis on which you don’t return the off-cut,” said Justice Ronald Veale to lawyers representing the geological survey during Monday court proceedings.

“What you want to do is give him the off-cut, and then he’ll go away, and then you won’t have any more lawsuits,” he said.

“In the normal course of things, the off-cut should have been returned,” said a lawyer representing the survey.

However, in giving up the off-cut, the government would have no way of countering Sabo’s fraud allegations, she said.

Amid Sabo’s continued allegations, the off-cut is no longer a scientific artifact — it’s evidence in a fraud case, she said.

If granted unconditionally, Sabo could, theoretically, replace the off-cut with a fake and use it to pursue falsely based fraud charges.

An earlier independent test was conducted by Ontario-based geologist Steve Kissin using the government off-cut and an off-cut from Sabo’s “replica.”

 Kissin concluded the two off-cuts were one and the same — a conclusion that Sabo disputes, citing a possible a last-minute replacement of the off-cut, as well as Kissin’s possible ties to the National Geological Survey.

Justice Veale reasoned that, in light of the report, the geological survey had few reasons to continue holding the off-cut. Kissin himself would be defence enough in the event of a fraud trial.

A decision is still pending — but if granted, Sabo’s custody of the disputed chunk of meteorite may still come laden with a host of conditions.

The geological survey requested an independent third party to deliver the off-cut from Thunder Bay to a laboratory in Vancouver. They also requested that they be allowed to bring in experts to supervise the testing.

If material discrepancy is indeed found between the off-cut and the alleged replica, Sabo intends to pursue multiple charges against a substantial list of government and geological officials — all of whom conspired to rob him of the original meteorite, he said.

“It’s about holding those individuals accountable,” said Sabo.

The meteorite was originally discovered by Sabo in 1986 while prospecting near Mayo.

In 1999, Sabo struck a loose agreement with Yukon government geologist Charlie Roots to exchange the meteorite for reserves of jade-like rock located close to Sabo’s mining claim.

While Sabo prospected the jade-like reserves, he left the meteorite in Roots’ custody and Roots sent it to facilities in Thunder Bay for testing, says Sabo.

The transfer and subsequent testing was all done against his consent, says Sabo.

As part of those tests, a small nickel-sized off-cut was removed from the meteorite.

After he lobbied for its return, even going so far as to file a criminal complaint of theft with the RCMP, the meteorite was returned to Sabo — yet the off-cut remained in government custody.

Even without laboratory testing, the government off-cut is clearly of a different material, says Sabo.

Sabo took an off-cut from his alleged replica to compare to the government-held off-cut. Even though the government’s off-cut was twice as large as Sabo’s, Kissen’s report said that it only weighed half as much.

If obtained, the government off-cut will be sent to an independent Vancouver laboratory, where it will undergo a number of tests to determine if it shares the same identity with the alleged fake meteorite.

As well as measuring the off-cut’s mysterious density, Sabo intends to test a full range of the off-cut’s trace elements.

“That’s like a DNA test. If (the tests) vary even a little that shows different iron,” he said.

If Sabo’s meteorite and the government off-cut are both fakes, as Sabo alleges, proving that they’re both of different materials will easily give credence to the notion that something fishy is afoot.

 “It’s not a simple case, and there’s no real precedent,” said Justice Veale on Monday.

Just Posted

A motorcycle with driver pulled over on the right side of the North Klondike Highway whose speed was locked in at 171 kilometres per hour. (Courtesy/Yukon RCMP)
Patrols of Yukon highways find poorly-secured loads, intoxicated drivers

The ongoing patrols which police call ‘Operation Cooridor’ is mainly focused on commercial vehicles.

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

Air North president Joe Sparling said the relaxing of self-isolation rules will be good for the business, but he still expects a slow summer. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News)
Air North president expects a slow summer

Air North president Joe Sparling suspects it will be a long time before things return to pre-pandemic times

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Most Read