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Trial dates edge closer for port, DP World facing fisheries charges

Defence may challenge the warrants used to gather evidence that led to 10 Fisheries Act violations
Prince Rupert Port Authority, DP World and contractors were in court on March 11 to discuss setting a trial date for charges relating to federal fisheries offences. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

A trial date for DP World, the Prince Rupert Port Authority and its contractors facing 10 fisheries violations, is likely to be set this spring.

On March 11 at the Prince Rupert courthouse, Crown prosecutor and defence lawyers from the port, DP World, Fraser River Pile and Dredge Inc., BelPacific Excavating and Shoring Limited Partnership, and Bel Contracting discussed the upcoming trial.

At this point, they are considering 11 weeks for the trial with the first and last week to be held in Prince Rupert. The other weeks may be set in a Vancouver courthouse for logistical reasons.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert port and DP World faces 10 fisheries violations

“When there is harm within the community the Crown has interest in having the trial take place in that community,” said Crown prosecutor Adrienne Switzer.

DP World’s defence, Gavin Cameron, was in the Prince Rupert courtroom, while the defence for the other parties dialed in from Vancouver. They all agreed on giving charter notice April 26.

The defence may challenge the warrants used to gather evidence that led to the 10 Fisheries Act violations.

Cameron said they’ll look at the “evidence gathered early on, and whether or not there was a crossing of the Rubicon.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) conducted an investigation from Nov. 30, 2014 until Nov. 1, 2015 after allegations that fish were seriously harmed during the Fairview terminal expansion. Charges were laid against the port, DP World and construction companies on Nov. 2.

Counsel will meet again next Tuesday, March 19 to set an 11-week window for a trial this spring.

READ MORE: DFO launches investigation into alleged salmon deaths

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Shannon Lough | Editor
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