Mr. Potts was convicted of 11 counts under the Wildlife Act, R.S.A. 200, c.W-10. The issue for consideration is what is a fit and appropriate sentence given all the proper considerations.
Mr. Potts was the subject of an undercover operation - Operation Chinook, aimed at illegally trafficking in wildlife. The 11 counts that Mr. Potts was convicted of included unlawfully hunting wildlife, unlawful trafficking in wildlife, unlawful guiding, unlawfully discharging a firearm from a vehicle and contravening an order of the Court made under the Wildlife Act.
He was aware his actions were illegal and in defense attempted to hide behind his aboriginal rights. These rights have been well defined over an extended period of time and there should have been no uncertainty in mind of Mr. Potts as to his righs and obligations in this regard.
Counts 1, 2, 3, 4:
For the most part these activities involved Mr. Potts travelling around with an undercover officer culminating in the shooting and sale of deer. An appropriate fine for these offences is $4,000.00 plus surcharges as follows:
Count 1 - $1,000.00 plus surcharge of $150.00 in default 16 days
Count 2 - $1,000.00 plus surcharge of $150.00 in default 16 days
Count 3 - $1,000.00 plus surcharge of $150.00 in default 16 days
Count 4 - $1,000.00 plus surcharge of $150.00 in default 16 days
Counts 7, 8 and 9:
These charges involve the hunting for and sale of elk meat previously shot. On each of these charges, Mr. Potts will be fined the sum of $1,000.00 plus a surcharge of $150.00 in default 16 days, concurrent to each other, but consecutive to Counts 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Counts 10 and 12:
These counts involve Mr. Potts guiding without a license. It occurred over an extended period of time and Mr. Potts earned money and received other benefits. On each of count Mr. Potts will be fined the sum of $2,000.00, together with a surcharge of $300.00 each, with a default time of 33 days on each, concurrent to each other, but consecutive to the other sentences.
This involves the hunting of a bird of prey which is a protected animal. Mr. Potts did not
shoot at any animal on the day in question, but he was hunting within the meaning of the Wildlife Act and this behaviour must be deterred. Mr. Potts will be fined the sum of $1,000.00. A surcharge of $150.00 will apply, in default 16 days consecutive.
This involves the flagrant breach of a Court order under the Wildlife Act. The Crown is correct in submitting that this would often require a period of incarceration. I am satisfied however that the ends of justice and in particular the principles of deterrence can be met by imposing a fine, particularly in light of the other convictions and sentences imposed herein. Accordingly, Mr. Potts will be fined the sum of $2,000.00 plus a surcharge of $300.00, in default 33 days consecutive.
Provincial Court of Alberta
Mr Potts faced 11 counts under the Wildlife Act, R.S.A. 2000, c.W-10.
Provincial Court of Alberta