• Michael A. Richey v. Deputy Director of Wildlife

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    Decision Date: June 18, 1998

    Panel: Toby Vigod

    Keywords: Officially induced error; Wildlife Act — ss. 12, 24, 32, 39

    In July, 1997 Michael Richey pled guilty to discharging a firearm in a no shooting area and hunting over cultivated land without the consent of the owner, contrary to the Wildlife Act. Subsequent to this court action, the Deputy Director of Wildlife cancelled Mr. Richey’s licence and firearms carrying privileges for two years. Mr. Richey appealed this decision to the Board on the grounds that the weather conditions at the time of his offence prevented him from recognizing that the road he was shooting from was a “no shooting area.” He also argued that he discussed his sentencing with the arresting Conservation Officers and had a legitimate expectation that his hunting licensing privileges would not be cancelled if he took their advice and pled guilty to the charges.

    The Board found on the facts that there was no legitimate expectation or officially induced error of law caused by the Conservation Officer’s statements to Mr. Richey at the time of his arrest as no erroneous legal advice was given. In addition, the Board found that, based on the picture Mr. Richey filed of the area where the incident occurred, a fence was visible and should have been a clue that it was private property over which he was shooting and further inquiries should have been made regarding the nature of the road. The Board found that Mr. Richey had been remorseful since the incident occurred and that it was unlikely he would contravene the Wildlife Act again. He has held a hunting and fishing licence for 28 years with a clean record and is a C.O.R.E. examiner. The Board found that a two-year cancellation was excessive in the circumstances and varied the decision of the Deputy Director by finding that an 18 month cancellation, as initially recommended by the Conservation Officer who was present at the time of the incident, was reasonable, given all the circumstances. The appeal was allowed.