Blog Entry

Fisheries Act Charges Over Canada's Biggest Mining Spill 'Stayed' in Court; Pressure Mounts for Crown to Lay Its Own Charges

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Quick Update:

• The Federal Crown did proceed to stay (i.e. shelve) MiningWatch’s charges before we had a chance to present evidence of the damages from the spill to the Court.

• This lower-level Court has no say in this regard and had to record the stay (that's just the way the law is, for criminal private prosecutions). If MiningWatch wants to challenge the Crown’s unilateral decision to stay the charges at this stage, it would have to do so in a superior Court. MiningWatch is evaluating this option.

• The Crown asserts two reasons to stay the charges: 1) insufficient evidence from MiningWatch to warrant charges at this time, 2) need to wait for the completion of an ongoing investigation by Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, and B.C. Conservation officer. On those points, MiningWatch stated: 1) the Crown should have let MiningWatch present the full breadth of its evidence to Court before making this unfounded judgment; 2) We do not understand why allowing MiningWatch to present its evidence would imperil the ongoing investigation or the Crown's ability to proceed with its own charges later. We also expressed concerns about the complete lack of transparency and results from this investigation so far, which is an additional reason for our intervention.

• The Crown Prosecutor has not indicated if or when it might lay charges for the biggest mining spill in Canada’s history.

• MiningWatch will continue to pressure the Crown and responsible federal ministers to lay charges for the biggest mining spill in Canada's history.

Related documents:

MiningWatch submission to Court (March 2017)

Federal Crown Submission to Court (March 14, 2017)

MiningWatch letter to Federal Ministers (March 23, 2017)


De Smog


Radio Interview

Canadian Press (in Victoria Times Colonist)