Yellowknife fisherman asks to rescind his guilty pleas
A commercial fisherman in Yellowknife who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act says he wants to take back his guilty pleas and have a new trial.
On Wednesday, Brian Abbott appealed his 2012 conviction and sentence on seven fisheries charges.
Abbott argued he was railroaded into pleading guilty to the charges, which included fishing in an area where it's not allowed, not having his nets properly marked and not emptying his nets.
The judge fined him $6,000 — twice as much as both the defence and prosecutor had recommended.
During his appeal, Abbott acted as his own lawyer. He said the charges were partly the result of fumbling by fisheries officials.
"All I'm asking is that this goes to a proper trial so that all the facts can come out, and Fisheries can speak for themselves as well then, so the public can be apprised of what's going on and my name can be cleared. Because it was pretty much turned to mud — we lost half of our customers as a result of this," he said.
The prosecutor argued that Abbott simply disagrees with how the sentencing judge characterized the case — which is no reason to revoke the guilty pleas and hold a trial.
The judge who heard the appeal is still considering the arguments and said she will make a decision shortly.