Nfld. & Labrador

First week of caribou hunting trial wraps up in Happy Valley-Goose Bay

The trial for the 10 men from Sheshatshiu who are accused of illegally hunting the George River caribou herd in 2013 finished its first week on Friday.
The defence questioned how officers identified suspects this week, in the case against 10 hunters accused of illegally hunting the George River caribou herd (Submitted by Reubin Nochasak)

The trial for the 10 men from Sheshatshiu who are accused of illegally hunting the George River caribou herd in 2013 finished its first week on Friday.

The alleged illegal hunt happened less than two months after the Newfoundland and Labrador government put a hunting ban in place in 2013.

The hunters are charged with unlawfully possessing big game, obstructing or resisting a wildlife officer and failure to comply with big game licence requirements.

Questions over identification of suspects

Fish and Wildlife officers Gary O'Brien and Bruce Hope took the stand this week and testified that they saw dead caribou and Innu hunters in the Shipiskan and Snegamook Lake areas during patrols in 2013.

But defense lawyer Maggie Wente raised questions about how the 10 men accused were identified in the investigation.

Bruce Hope said that he attended a handful of meetings with agencies to look at photographs in an attempt to try and identify suspects.

But the defense questioned why the dates of some photographs didn't appear to line-up with notes Hope took during the investigation.

The identification of the suspects is only one avenue the defense plans to use to represent its clients.

If the judge finds enough evidence that the accused were hunting, the defense says it will argue that it is their aboriginal right to do so.

The case will resume in court on Feb. 8 of next year.

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