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Charge stayed for unattended net

Jennifer Geens
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 15/06) - Charges against a Yellowknife area fisherman were stayed Thursday afternoon after Crown counsel decided the case could not be proved.
NNSL Photo/graphic

Field biologist Murray Somers and Fishery officer Gerald Fillatre pull a net left unattended from Great Slave Lake on Aug. 2. - NNSL file photo

The man had pleaded not guilty to violating a regulation under the Fisheries Act that requires commercial fishermen to check their nets every 30 hours in summer, and was scheduled to stand trial last Thursday.

The charge stemmed from an incident Aug. 2, when Yellowknife's Department of Fisheries and Oceans office received a complaint of a net near Wool Bay that had been left unattended for about a week. Fishery officers pulled the marked net and emptied it of dead whitefish.

The accused, who said he had fished Great Slave Lake for 59 years without running afoul of the law, said he had been unable to get out to his net that week in August because he was ill. He also said he had no beef with the fishery officers who laid the charge.

"They were just doing their job," he said.

Crown counsel Darren Mahoney said prosecution was stayed because there wasn't enough evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

With a stayed charge, prosecution could resume within one year, but Mahoney said that was unlikely in this case.