Woody Point fish plant and owner ac­quit­ted of il­le­gal fish­ing

Northern Pen - - Front page - DIANE CROCKER THE WESTERN STAR

WOODY POINT, NL. – In a di­rected verdict re­leased on Wed­nes­day, Todd Young and 3Ts Ltd. were ac­quit­ted of fish­ing for At­lantic hal­ibut with­out a li­cence.

Young is part owner of the 3Ts fish plant, which is based in Woody Point.

The case was heard by Judge Wayne Gor­man in provin­cial court in Cor­ner Brook on May 18 and 28.

At the con­clu­sion of the Crown’s case, coun­sel for Young and 3Ts ap­plied for a di­rected verdict.

The re­quest meant Gor­man had to de­ter­mine whether the ev­i­dence, if be­lieved, could rea­son­ably sup­port the in­fer­ence of guilt the Crown had sought to draw.

In his writ­ten de­ci­sion, Gor­man said he con­cluded it did not and the ap­pli­ca­tion should be granted, and he ac­quit­ted both ac­cused of the charge against them.

The charges were laid on Oct. 27, 2016 af­ter the De­part­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans (DFO) con­ducted sur­veil­lance on the ves­sel Le Grand Duc, which was skip­pered by Lewis Caines.

A fish­eries of­fi­cer tes­ti­fied see­ing some­thing passed from the ves­sel to the wharf on more than one oc­ca­sion and some­thing thrown from the wharf to the ship.

An­other of­fi­cer tes­ti­fied see­ing two large fish tubs in the area where the ves­sel had docked at the wharf be­long­ing to the 3Ts fish plant.

One of the tubs was found to con­tain “slushy wa­ter” and At­lantic hal­ibut, and the other con­tained only slushy wa­ter.

Tur­bot (Green­land hal­ibut) and At­lantic hal­ibut were found on the ves­sel. The At­lantic hal­ibut found in both lo­ca­tions had their heads re­moved.

Lewis did not have a fish­ing li­cence on Oct. 27, 2016 and the one is­sued to him to fish for tur­bot on Oct. 28, 2016 re­quired that he im­me­di­ately re­turn to the wa­ter any At­lantic hal­ibut caught. He was not charged with il­le­gally fish­ing for tur­bot.

Caines tes­ti­fied he did catch At­lantic hal­ibut and re­moved their heads be­fore re­turn­ing to Woody Point and that he placed the fish in a tub, which had ice and wa­ter in it, on the 3Ts wharf.

Caines said he asked Young if he wanted to buy some hal­ibut and was told no. He said he called him from sea and asked for a loan of two fish tubs, and Young told him that he didn’t want any­thing to do with buy­ing il­le­gal fish.

Caines also tes­ti­fied that he felt pres­sured by the fish­eries of­fi­cer who in­ter­viewed him to im­pli­cate Young and 3Ts.

Gor­man said the Crown was re­ly­ing on Young and 3Ts be­ing par­ties to the of­fence com­mit­ted by Caines.

Robby Ash, lawyer for Young and 3Ts Ltd., ar­gued there was no ev­i­dence to es­tab­lish either was in­volved in fish­ing with­out an ap­pro­pri­ate li­cence and that by the time Caines called Young the fish­ing had been com­pleted.

Crown prose­cu­tor Dave Mills ar­gued fish­ing in­cludes the of­fload­ing of the fish. He said there is ev­i­dence Caines con­tacted Young and asked for the two fish tubs, and they were there when the ves­sel docked.

Mills ar­gued that from the ev­i­dence, an in­fer­ence could be drawn that Young as­sisted Caines in il­le­gally fish­ing.

Young and 3Ts still have a num­ber of other mat­ters be­fore the court.

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