Blagdon v HMTQ

Territorial subdivision
Type of court
Court jurisdiction
Date of opinion

William Blagdon appealed a conviction and the sentence he received in the Provincial Court for breaching section 91(3)(a) of the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, contrary to section 78(a) of the Fisheries Act. He claimed that thetrial judge erred by finding he was engaged in a “common enterprise” with another fisher, ignored “irregularities” in the evidence and did not apply the “due diligence defense” or the “burden of proof” correctly. Mr. Blagdon claimed the sentence hereceived was “extreme”.
Mr. Blagdon came to visit his sister in Burin, NL on October 2, 2007. His brother-in-law arranged for Mr. Blagdon to accompany Keith Adams, also of Burin, in Mr. Adams’ boat for the recreational groundfish fishery which was openat the time. Mr. Blagdon said that he and Mr. Adams left Burin around 5:00 am on October 3, 2007 and steamed to an area of shallow water on Mortier Bank, in Placentia Bay. He said that Mr. Adams had handlines on his boat and they used thegear to direct for cod fish, the most coveted of the groundfish.
Afterwards, at the harbor, Fishery Officers inquired how the fishing was that morning and the occupants of the boat told them it was “good”. The officers then asked how many fish they hadon board and Mr. Adams answered that they had “20 or so”. The officers knew the daily limit for two fishers to be ten fish so they immediately believed that Mr.Adams and Mr. Blagdon had exceeded their quota and concluded that “[t]here wasobviously a violation…”. The number reported by Mr. Adams was also consistent with the observations the fishery officers made of the plastic pan whichwas in plain view at that time: “…there was a pan that was three parts full of codand, just at a quick glance, Your Honour, you could determine that there was more than 10 fish in that pan”. Officer Drover acted immediately by reading the police caution to both fishers and advised them of the right to counsel. Officer Batemanboarded Mr. Adams’ boat and began his inspection.
Officers Bateman and Drover seized the boat and motor, all the contents ofthe boat, including the pan of cod fish, the plastic pail and mackerel, and all fishing gear. They charged Mr. Adams and Mr. Blagdon with exceeding the daily quota ofgroundfish allowed during the recreational fishery. Mr. Adams pleaded guilty andreceived the same sentence as Mr. Blagdon.
The court dismissed the appeal, both as to conviction and sentence.The trial judge understood the law which applied to the offence and applied it properly. He believed the Crown evidence. He did not believe Mr. Blagdon’s evidence and after considering all the evidence he was satisfied that the Crown had proved the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. He also exercised his discretion appropriately when he sentenced Mr. Blagdon for the offence. (Provided by: UNODC SHERLOC)

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