R v. Cassell

In Fish Cases, Offences, Officially Induced Error on (Updated )

This case involved a snow crab fisher who offloaded all but two trays of crab while a dockside observer was present. The remain two trays were retained for crew members to take home. Upon being confronted by a fisheries officer while the crab was still aboard the fishing vessel, the fisher was given a written warning that all fish had to be monitored before it could be offloaded, but advised that he would not be charged. This decision not to charge was later over-ruled by the supervisor of the fisheries officer.

At trial the accused raised a defence of officially induced error. In doing so, he gave evidence that if he thought that a charge was being contemplated he would have arranged to get a dockside observer to monitor the unloading of the last two trays of crab or returned them to the ocean.

After reviewing the recent jurisprudence on officially induced error, the court ruled that since it was open to an investigator to change his or her mind about whether or not to lay a charge, delivering a written warning was not sufficient to create a defence of officially induced error.