R v. Tommy

In Aboriginal Rights/Defences, Fish Cases on (Updated )

This case involved a number of charges of illegal fishing by members of the Cheam First Nation on the Fraser River. With respect to some of the charges, the court ruled the Crown failed to justify closing aboriginal fishing on the Fraser River at a time while the recreational fishery was still open. With respect to other charges the Crown held that the Crown’s closures were justified despite failure to have bilateral consultations because the Cheam failed in their reciprocal duty to participate in consultations in good faith. In addition the court said that "[t]he courts cannot be expected to micromanage the complex and dynamic task of planning, coordinating and allocating fisheries amongst a variety of user groups." [para 117]. The court also confirmed that sustainability is a valid legislative objective (para. 57). For similar companion cases where the Crown was entirely successful see R. v. Douglas, 2008 BCSC 1097 [link] and R. v. Aleck, 2008 BCSC 1096 [link].