Judge dis­misses some charges in il­le­gal fish­ing case

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - BY DIANE CROCKER diane.crocker@thewest­ern­star.com Twit­ter: WS_DianeCrocker

A pro­vin­cial court judge in Cor­ner Brook has granted di­rected ver­dicts for some of the charges in a case of il­le­gal fish­ing.

Lind­say Crocker, Todd Young and Gau­vin and Noel Com­pany Lim­ited went on trial be­fore Judge Wayne Gor­man on June 4, 5 and 8. Gor­man is­sued his writ­ten de­ci­sion in the case on Wednesday.

The two men and the com­pany, of which Young is one of the own­ers, were charged in Novem­ber 2016.

The ev­i­dence pre­sented at trial is that on Nov. 30, 2016 the Ni­cole Daniel trapped a sig­nif­i­cant amount of her­ring in a purse seine it had set in Bonne Bay near Woody Point.

The Ni­cole Daniel trans­ferred ap­prox­i­mately 26,000 pounds of the her­ring onto an­other ves­sel, the M.V. Mary Shauna, that was be­ing uti­lized by Crocker and an­other 14,000 pounds into a sec­ond ves­sel, a white skiff, also uti­lized by Crocker.

Crocker landed and sold the en­tire amount of her­ring loaded onto the two ves­sels. The Ni­cole Daniel sub­se­quently landed and sold over 120,000 pounds of her­ring.

In his log­book, Crocker in­di­cated that he had “kept” 40,000 pounds of her­ring by us­ing a “tuck seine.” In his log­book, Young in­di­cated that he had “kept” 120,000 pounds of her­ring.

Crocker was charged with op­er­at­ing a ves­sel while un­named in a fish­ing li­cence, fail­ure to com­ply with the con­di­tion of a li­cence, mak­ing a false state­ment to a fish­eries of­fi­cial and un­law­fully fish­ing from a ves­sel with­out a valid ves­sel reg­is­tra­tion card.

Young and the com­pany were each charged with op­er­at­ing a ves­sel while un­named in a fish­ing li­cence, un­law­fully fish­ing from a ves­sel with­out a valid ves­sel reg­is­tra­tion card and pro­duc­ing false records.

Ac­cord­ing to Gor­man’s writ­ten de­ci­sion, the three ac­cused made mo­tions for di­rected ver­dicts at the end of the Crown’s case.

They ar­gued that when the her­ring was trans­ferred from the purse seine to the Mary Shauna and the white skiff, the Ni­cole Daniel was no longer en­gaged in fish­ing.

And they ar­gued the Crown failed to present any ev­i­dence that a ves­sel was used “in fish­ing”, as re­quired by sec­tions 13(1)(a) and (c) of the At­lantic Fish­ery Reg­u­la­tions, 1985. They also ar­gued that there was no ev­i­dence that the log books pre­pared by Young and Crocker were “false or mis­lead­ing,” as re­quired by sec­tions 63(1) and 63(3) of the Fish­eries Act.

he Crown said the mo­tions for di­rected ver­dicts should be de­nied and ar­gued the three ac­cused were en­gaged in a co­or­di­nated scheme de­signed to al­low Crocker to un­law­fully fish for her­ring.

The Crown ar­gued the scheme con­sisted of the three ac­cused par­tic­i­pat­ing in Crocker hav­ing fished for her­ring by ob­tain­ing the her­ring from a purse seine set by Young and Gau­vin & Noel pur­suant to the com­pany’s li­cence.

Gor­man granted the di­rected ver­dicts in re­la­tion to the charges laid against the three pur­suant to sec­tions 63(1), mak­ing a false state­ment to a fish­eries of­fi­cial, and 61(3), pro­duc­ing false record, of the Fish­eries Act. He said there was no ev­i­dence that any of the ac­cused pre­pared or made a false or mis­lead­ing doc­u­ment or state­ment.

As a re­sult, those charges were dis­missed.

He de­nied the mo­tions for di­rected ver­dicts on the re­main­ing charges, say­ing there was some ev­i­dence they en­gaged in fish­ing and used a ves­sel with­out a

reg­is­tra­tion card (the white skiff); a ves­sel not listed in the com­pany’s li­cence (the Mary Shauna) and a per­son (Crocker) not listed in the com­pany’s li­cence.

The mat­ter will be called again in on June 19.

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