Crown stays charges in Mount Polley prosecution
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.