• Erwin Adolph Klapper v. Deputy Director of Wildlife

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    Decision Date: June 11, 2007

    Panel: Alan Andison

    Keywords: Wildlife Act, s. 24(2), s. 24(5); hunting licence cancellation; period of ineligibility; deterrence; delay

    Mr. Klapper appealed the decision of the Deputy Director of Wildlife (the “Deputy Director”), Ministry of Environment, to cancel his hunting licence and to declare him ineligible to hunt or obtain or renew a hunting licence for a period of 11 years. The licensing decision arose out of an undercover investigation in 2000 and Mr. Klapper’s subsequent conviction in Provincial Court for various serious offences under the Wildlife Act and the Firearms Act.

    Mr. Klapper asked the Board to reduce or eliminate the period of ineligibility. Two issues were raised in the appeal: first, whether the Deputy Director took into account all relevant factors when imposing the period of ineligibility, and second, whether the period of ineligibility should be reduced in the circumstances.

    Regarding the first issue, the Board found that the Deputy Director failed to take into account the inconvenience and costs of Mr. Klapper’s dispute with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, which arose directly out of the wildlife investigation, and the extreme impact of the investigation, charges and convictions on Mr. Klapper’s personal life.

    Turning to the second issue, the Board considered whether Mr. Klapper’s unique circumstances ought to have been taken into consideration in determining the period of ineligibility. The Board rejected Mr. Klapper’s claim that he was unfamilar with Canadian hunting laws and with the consequences of breaking these laws. The Board found that, while specific deterrence ought not to be given much weight given the high price Mr. Klapper had already paid for his behaviour, general deterrence was a particularly important factor. Therefore, the period of ineligibility must reflect the seriousness of Mr. Klapper’s offences. Finally, the Board found that the delay between Mr. Klapper’s convictions and the cancellation of his hunting privileges was significant enough to be taken into account when deciding the period of ineligibility.

    The Board determined that a period of ineligibility of 12 years properly reflects the seriousness of the offences, their effect on wildlife resources, and an appropriate level of deterrence. The Board then considered the mitigating factors present in the case, including Mr. Klapper’s age, the fact that he had shown remorse and suffered serious financial and personal consequences, and the delay before the Deputy Director’s decision was made. The Board concluded that the Deputy Director had properly taken these factors into account when he reduced the period of ineligibility by four years, but determined that the period should be reduced by a further two years to account for the one year mandatory suspension resulting from his convictions and the extreme financial and personal impacts suffered by Mr. Klapper and his family.

    Accordingly, the appeal was allowed and the period of ineligibility reduced from 11 years to 6 years.