Canada v. White

In Fish Cases, Miscellaneous, Offences on (Updated )

This case involved charges against a person who was observed removing three salmon from a net in an area closed to fishing. At issue, was the definition of the term "fishing" as defined in the Fisheries Act and subsequent jurisprudence. At trial the accused was convicted of possession of fish, but acquitted on the charge of fishing. The grounds for the acquittal on the fishing charge were that there was no evidence that the accused was "part of any ongoing venture or that he was actually connected in any way to others who might have been" (para 6). The acquittal was upheld by a summary conviction appeal court.

Upon further appeal to the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal, the acquittal was overturned on the following basis:

Fishing, as was underscored in Gerring and in the many cases which have followed it, is comprised not of a single act but of many discrete ones. Among those many acts is included, to use the language of Sedgewick J., “taking [fish] out of the water and obtaining manual custody of them”; which is precisely what Mr. White did in the instant case. That he was or was not the owner of the net, or a coventurer with the person who did own it, is irrelevant. [para. 16]