Decision on poaching should be appealed

Judge has undoubtedly encouraged other poachers to follow Dougan’s lead

To the editor;

It was with dismay that I recently read of B.C. Provincial Court Judge Stella Frame’s misguided decision to stay charges against twice-convicted poacher Abe Dougan.

Dougan illegally killed a Dall sheep in the Yukon and, although Frame found him guilty, she inexplicably stayed the charges, effectively denying justice.

I have read in full the decision on guilt and the staying of charges.

Frame exaggerates the length of time taken when she writes that this “lingered on over all these years . . .”

In fact, the trial took one year, spread over several court dates, to complete. The judge acknowledges both the Crown and defence contributed to delays.

In her ruling, Frame made light of the poaching incident, saying the sheep are not endangered and hunting of them is permitted.

I find it troubling that a judge could so badly confuse the real issue here.

This case was never about whether Dall sheep were endangered or whether Yukon residents people could legally hunt them.

It was about whether it is right for a British Columbia resident to come to the Yukon, hunt illegally and take the trophy back to British Columbia.

In my reading of both decisions, I was struck by the judge’s apparent bias against the prosecution of this crime. She clearly stated her bias when she wrote that  “. . . the public was ill-served with this prosecution . . .” even though  Dougan was found guilty of a serious crime.

Frame also stated in her decision that “Mr. Castagner [a Crown witness] did not attend to give evidence at trial. He is serving federal prison time.”

This assertion about Castagner is                          absolutely false.

To clarify for Frame, illegal hunting is not right, we take it seriously in the Yukon and her actions and statements have made light of a serious problem.

In so doing, she undoubtedly encouraged other poachers to follow Dougan’s lead.

I respectfully ask the government to give serious consideration to appealing this verdict, for the sake of justice and for the sake of sending an appropriate message to all of those who might take the wrong message from this judge’s unfortunate mistakes.

Ken Taylor

Whitehorse, Yukon