Crown stays charges in Mount Pol­ley prose­cu­tion

The Prince George Citizen - - Local - Gordon HOESTRA

The B.C. Prose­cu­tion Ser­vice will not take on a pri­vate prose­cu­tion launched by a for­mer First Na­tion chief to keep alive pro­vin­cial charges in the cat­a­strophic 2014 Mount Pol­ley tail­ings dam col­lapse.

The three-year time limit to lay charges un­der B.C.’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Act ex­pired on Aug. 4, 2017.

At the 11th hour, with the sup­port of sev­eral en­vi­ron­men­tal groups – in­clud­ing Min­ing Watch Canada and West Coast En­vi­ron­men­tal Law – for­mer Xat’sull First Na­tion chief Bev Sel­lars filed pri­vate charges in pro­vin­cial court un­der B.C.’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Act and the Min­ing Act over the earth-and-rock dam fail­ure at Im­pe­rial Met­als’ Mount Pol­ley mine north­east of Wil­liams Lake.

Sel­lars had said she hoped the pri­vate charges could act as a “doorstop­per,” buy­ing time for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to be com­pleted and the po­ten­tial for the prov­ince to carry on with charges.

On Tues­day, the prose­cu­tion ser­vice said it had stayed the pri­vate prose­cu­tion.

In a writ­ten state­ment, the prose­cu­tion ser­vice said its pol­icy gen­er­ally does not per­mit a pri­vate prose­cu­tion to pro­ceed.

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