R v. Ramalheira

In Fish Cases, Miscellaneous, Offences on (Updated )

This case involved charges against the Master of a foreign fishing vessel under the Coastal Waters Protection Act. After several trial adjournments, the Provincial Court refused an adjournment based upon the alleged poor health of the accused in part because the medical report in support of the application was "scant at best" and given the numerous prior adjournments and the passing of time it was in the public interest to have the trial proceed. Since appeals of interlocutory orders are not normally allowed in criminal proceedings, the accused brought an application for prohibition and certiorari in aid, which was denied by the Trial Division court. Upon further appeal, with one judge dissenting, the Appeal Division court upheld the Trial Division judgement and refused the application for review. The reasons for doing so included: (1) the fact that this was a regulatory offence rather than a criminal offence where the consequences of a conviction for the accused were not as far reaching; (2) since the fishing vessel was continuing to fish in the area, there would presumably be other crew members available who could testify; and (3) "undoubtedly there are various data recordings (notably GPS) that modern vessels maintain" (para. 17).

The dissenting judge disagreed that regulatory offences should be treated differently and suggested that if Parliament intended such proceedings to proceed in rem (against the ship itself), it would have provided for such a proceeding within the legislation. (para. 41).