|Listed below are only two concluded court cases from the "online" officer's notebook. If you would like to read all the wildlife and fisheries investigations and the final outcome of the court cases be sure to pickup your Alberta Game Warden magazine at your favorite bookstore. Or better yet, purchase a yearly subscription so you won't miss an issue.|
Big fines and maximum hunting suspensions resulted when two men plead guilty on a handful of charges surrounding the illegal killing of two white-tailed deer near a rural residence.
On Jan. 17, 2001, two men appeared in Fort Saskatchewan provincial court to answer to 20 counts under the Wildlife Act. Darel Jodoin, 32, of Bon Accord, and Pierre LePage, 51, of Edmonton, plead guilty to 13 charges.
Court heard that on Nov. 25, 2000, conservation officers in the Smoky Lake District received information via the Report A Poacher line of persons suspected of illegally hunting on occupied land without consent of the landowner. Upon investigation it was determined that the land was posted and considered occupied. There were two kill sites found within 200 yards of a dwelling house.
Subsequent investigation identified Darel Jodoin and Pierre LePage as the two hunters. Both men provided written statements to the officers.
Jodoin initially claimed that a Quebec resident shot one of the two antlerless white-tailed deer and that LePage shot the other. Jodoin went further to say that both deer were shot from the road. It was also learned that the Quebec resident had already left the province and returned home.
Not satisfied with the explanation, the officer pursued the matter and determined that Jodoin shot both of the deer. Both men admitted that Jodoin had already filled his white-tailed deer tag, and having done so, had illegally killed both deer without a licence. It was revealed that both men discarded the carcass of the smaller deer, thereby allowing it to be wasted.
Investigators learned that LePage allegedly gave the Quebec resident wild meat to take back to Quebec without having the appropriate export permit.
The Canadian Wildlife Service is currently investigating the Quebec connection.
Jodoin and LePage both plead guilty to the following charges: allowing edible flesh to be wasted, discharging a firearm within 200 yards of a dwelling, discharging a firearm on/over a road allowance, using another person's licence, and providing false and misleading information to a conservation officer. In addition to the above, Jodoin plead guilty to two counts of hunting big game without a licence, and LePage plead guilty to one count of unlawful possession of wildlife.
Judge J.E. Enright accepted their guilty pleas and ordered Darel Jodoin to pay fines of $5,400. He ordered LePage to pay fines of $3,400. Both have been prohibited from possessing a recreational hunting licence for the maximum suspension period of five years.
There was no way out for a fish poacher desperate enough to try holding a conservation officer at bay with a filleting knife.
On Jan. 8, following a six-day trial, Kenny Donald Benson, 49, of Lac la Biche was convicted of several fisheries charges relating to his possession of nine illegal walleye 18 months previous.
St. Paul provincial court heard that on June 26, 1999 Benson was observed with four other people at a remote campsite on the shores of Spencer Lake. Benson and the others were in the process of cleaning walleye as two conservation officers secretly approached their camp on foot. When Benson heard a second team of officers approaching their location in a patrol boat, officers could hear him shout to the others that the game wardens were coming and that they should dump the fish.
The occupants of the camp started running around in an attempt to hide the fish. One person threw fish, along with a white pail, into the lake. Benson tried to hide a second pail containing fish inside a metal shed. When one of the officers yelled at him to stop, Benson turned around and ran at the officer while holding a filleting knife in his hand and yelling that the officer had no right to tell them what to do.
Benson would not stop and was given a second command. He continued to close space but finally stopped when he observed the officer snap open the holster on his duty pistol. Benson maintained his verbal abuse, meanwhile advising the others in the camp not to comply with any demands. Benson then approached one of the officers, threw his Indian Status Card at him, claiming that it was his fishing license and he was responsible for catching all of the fish.
Eventually the nine fish carcasses were measured and were found to be between 42cm and 53cm, a prohibited length. Benson was charged and the fish were seized.
Spencer Lake has a slot size regulation and all walleye between 42cm and 53cm must be returned to the lake. One walleye under 42cm may be kept and two walleye over 53cm may be kept for a total of three.
Benson was convicted on three counts: exceeding the possession limit for walleye, catching and retaining fish of prohibited length under the Alberta Fishery Regulations, and attempting to obstruct a fishery officer, under the Fisheries (Alberta) Act. Judge B.R. Fraser ordered Benson to pay fines of $5,600.
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copyright © 2001, Alberta Game Warden. All rights reserved.