R v. Edwards

In Fish Cases, Miscellaneous, Offences on (Updated )

This was a summary conviction appeal of a conviction for failing to comply with the terms and conditions of a fishing licence (taking rockfish without a quota amendment).

At issue was whether or not the Crown proved that the set of licence conditions was physically attached to the fishing licence.

Although a certified copy of the licence was entered at trial, no employee from the D.F.O. licence division was called as a witness.

In overturning the conviction, the appeal court rejecting the finding of the trial judge that the attachment of the terms and conditions had been proved. In doing so, it said that the court placed much too much weight on the accused’s compliance with the terms and conditions as evidence that they were issued to him. The court also held that very little weight should have been given to testimony from fisheries officers as to the general practices of the employees of the D.F.O. licence division.

In arriving at its decision the court distinguished R. v Fitzpatrick [1995] 4 S.C.R. 154 as a case where the licence conditions referred to obligations which were set out independently in separate regulations. The court also conceded that under some circumstances, such as when the terms and conditions are found aboard the vessel, the Crown might not have to actually prove the licence conditions were attached at the time the licence was issued.

Editor’s Note: For another case involving proof the terms and conditions of a licence see R. v. Morgan [2002] N.J. No. 15 (Nfld. and Labrador Prov. Ct. ) digested herein.