Judge lessens penalty for caribou infractions
Three people were charged $700 each after pleading guilty to entering an area closed to protect Jasper’s dwindling caribou herds, March 9.
The penalties are significantly lighter than previous rulings, which saddled those convicted with $1,500 fines for committing the same offense.
Richard Ireland, who was acting as duty counsel, told the court that the infraction indicated on the appearance notice was not the same infraction written on the sworn information.
According to Ireland, the infraction on the appearance notice indicated an offense under the general regulations of the National Parks Act, which carries a statutory fine of $100. In contrast the infraction on the sworn information indicated an offense under section 24 (2) of the National Parks Act, which carries a maximum fine of $25,000 for the first offense.
The federal Crown agreed that there was a discrepancy, but said what matters is what is on the sworn information.
Judge K. Tjosvold agreed with the Crown, however in his ruling he said he would take into account the confusion caused by the discrepancy.
Francois Jourdain, Mackenzie German Johnson and Erika Lindsay were each fined $700.
Jourdain committed his offense on Jan. 1 after trying to enter the Tonquin Valley via Portal Creek. German Johnson and Lindsay committed their offenses on Jan. 5 after walking up Edith Cavell Road.
To date 16 people have pled guilty to entering a caribou closure since the seasonal closures were implemented in December 2014.