R v Marsland

Territorial subdivision
Type of court
Court jurisdiction
Date of opinion

This is a case of appeal. The respondent was accused on three charges listed above. The question was, whether the permits the respondent (at that time: the accused) carried were technically valid for the actions he committed.
The accused was transporting five white-tailed deer from his ranch in Alberta to an outfitting and game farm operation in Saskatchewan. The animals the accused was transporting were deer born and raised on the accused's game farm. The accused was in possession of an export permit from Alberta, issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Separately, in the Saskatchewan Environment Resource Management Department, a meeting of senior members was held, where it was decided to have a policy change and begin laying charges against individuals importing game farm deer without a Saskatchewan import permit.
When the accused was stopped and charged, he was in possession of the above-mentioned CFIA Export Permit and a Poundmaker Cree Nation Import Permit, which is the goal farm in Saskatchewan where the accused was planning to bring the white-tailed deer to, as was previous practice.
The summary offence ticket given to the accused by the relevant authorities, was for the provincial offence of importing white-tail deer without an import permit contrary to s. 31(1)(b) of the Wildlife Act. To operate a hunt farm, the specifications require a license by the Province of Saskatchewan, which the owner of the goal farm could not obtain as his hunt farm was located on a First Nation reserve (native peoples' reserve) and came under federal jurisdiction. This is also the reason why it was impossible for the accused to receive a Saskatchewan Import Permit.
A duty was imposed on the accused under s.15 of the Domestic Game Farm Animal Regulations to obtain an important licence pursuant to s.31(1). A failure to meet this duty may have given rise to a charge under the DGFAR, s.15, and not under DGFAR s.31(1) of The Wildlife Act. However, the accused was not charged under the DGFAR s.15, so was possibly charged under the wrong legislation. From this the learned trial judge concludes that no culpability can be found in not having obtained a license which was not obtainable.
Further, it was noted that the accused had shown due diligence in attempting to meet any obligations under the law, as well as followed past practice of federal officials allowing the importation practices.
The Crown, (represented by the Attorney General of Saskatchewan) argued however, that there was very little evidence that the accused made efforts to obtain information as regards his legal responsibilities for importation of the deer in question. Further, the fact that the authorities in this matter "allowed" the accused to import deer on previous occasions without charge, cannot be said to be officially induced error. In R. v. Shiner 2007, the court set aside a judicial stay and entered a conviction against a seal hunter from unlawfully selling blue back seal pellets. In that case, the accused has argued that the Department of Fisheries' failure to act to curtail the illegal harvest of blue back seals led him to believe he could continue to do so. This was rejected by the court. The court held that the accused "inferred" that his actions were legal. In the matter before me, the accused "inferred" that his actions were legal when he was not previously stopped. However, it does not establish officially induced error.
For the reasons set out above, the decision of the learned trial judge must be overturned, and the appeal allowed. The Attorney General requested that a conviction be entered and a sentence be imposed (see above, under "Sentence"). (Provided by: UNODC SHERLOC)

Language of document
Reference number
2011 SKQB 207
White-tailed deer