Wildlife, forest and fisheries crime

Offences

• Fisheries crime

Subject

• Unprotected species

Details

• Undocumented/unlicensed conduct

R v Strickland

UNODC No.:
CANx097

Fact Summary

This case involved a fisheries officer and two fisheries guardians who were conducting a patrol in a Zodiac when they observed the accused in his dory. Although they were some ... distance away, they thought they observed him fishing. The fisheries officer motioned for the accused to come over to the fishing vessel, but instead the accused drove his dory on to a nearby beach in front of his cabin.

The accused gave evidence that he was not fishing at the time, but was filling his engine with fuel. He said he observed the request to go over to the fisheries vessel, but felt that because of the because of the sea conditions, strong current and shoals close by, it was not safe. Instead he motioned for the fisheries office to conduct the inspection on the beach where he had previously seen a similar Zodiac land on a previous occasion.

At a later time, the accused refused to provide the fisheries officer with his name. As a result of these actions, the accused was charged with obstruction under s. 62 of the Fisheries Act. s. 62 of the Fisheries Act.  

Sentence Date:
2016-01-29

Cross Cutting

Liability

... for

• completed offence

... based on

• criminal intention

... as involves

• principal offender(s)

Procedural Information

Legal System:
Common Law
Latest Court Ruling:
Court of 1st Instance
 
Proceeding #1:
  • Stage:
    first trial
  • Is the decision appealable?:
    Yes
  • Official Case Reference:
    R v. Strickland, 2016 NLPC 1314A000821
  • Description:

    The Court reviewed the obstruction provision of both the Criminal Code and the In deciding the case, the Court reviewed the obstruction provision of both the Criminal Code and the Fisheries Act. Fisheries Act.    

    The Court also reviewed the inspection powers under s. 49 and concluded that it incorporated the the traditional subjective-objective test (para. 39), which it described as follows: traditional subjective-objective test , which it described as follows:    

    "[I]n determining whether a fishery officer or guardian was carrying out duties and functions "[I]n determining whether a fishery officer or guardian was carrying out duties and functions pursuant to section 49 of the Fisheries Act, the officer or guardian must have a subjective belief that pursuant to section 49 of the Fisheries Act, the officer or guardian must have a subjective belief that there is something in the place to be searched in respect of which the Fisheries Act or regulations there is something in the place to be searched in respect of which the Fisheries Act or regulations apply. The search must be for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the Fisheries Act or regulations. In addition, the officer’s or guardian’s belief must be objectively reasonable in the circumstances." circumstances."    

    Given the fact that Fisheries Offences are strict liability offences, the Crown does not have to prove Given the fact that Fisheries Offences are strict liability offences, the Crown does not have to prove that the accused intended that his act would hinder or obstruct. That the accused intended that his act would hinder or obstruct. However the Crown does have to prove the act of obstruction was purposely committed. Once the Crown has proved the actus (prohibited act) it is open to the accused to prove he or she took all reasonable steps to avoid reus (prohibited act) obstructing or hindering the fisheries officer.    

    After reviewing the law, including the burden of proof and the facts, the Court rejected the Crown's evidence that the accused was fishing at the time he was observed. Accordingly they did not have evidence that the accused was fishing at the time he was observed. Accordingly they did not have an objective belief to support a s. 49 inspection. As a result the accused did not have a lawful obligation to stop the dory for an inspection..  

    Given the fact that an inspection was not lawful under s. 49, it followed that the accused's subsequent refusal to identify himself was also lawful. Given all of the findings, the Court found that the actus reus (prohibited act) of the offence was not made out and acquitted the accused..  

     

    Outcome

  • Verdict:
    Not Guilty
  • Defendants / Respondents in the first instance

    Defendant:
    John Stickland
    Gender:
    Male
    Legal Reasoning:

    After reviewing the law, including the burden of proof and the facts, the Court rejected the Crown's evidence that the accused was fishing at the time he was observed. Accordingly they did not have evidence that the accused was fishing at the time he was observed. Accordingly they did not have an objective belief to support a s. 49 inspection. As a result the accused did not have a lawful obligation to stop the dory for an inspection.  

    Given the fact that an inspection was not lawful under s. 49, it followed that the accused's subsequent refusal to identify himself was also lawful. Given all of the findings, the Court found that the actus reus (prohibited act) of the offence was not made out and acquitted the accused.

    Charges / Claims / Decisions

    Defendant:
    John Stickland
    Verdict:
    Not Guilty
    Charge / Claim:

    Obstructing a fishery officer, contrary to section 62 of the Fisheries Act, R.S.C. 1985.

    Section 62 of the Fisheries Act states as follows: No person shall obstruct or hinder a fishery officer, a fishery guardian or an inspector who is carrying out duties or functions under this Act.

    Court

    Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

    Sources / Citations

    Attachments

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