South Peace News
A Faust man charged in connection with an illegal fishing operation two years ago will get his day in court.
David Rochon is scheduled to got to trial Sept. 2 in High Prairie in commissioner’s court.
The date was set when the matter was on the docket in High Prairie provincial court Jan. 10.
Duty counsel Harry Jong spoke for Rochon, who did not appear in court.
His trial was set for Jan. 7, but in-person trials were cancelled because of growing COVID-19 concerns and cases, Jong said.
Alberta Justice cancelled in-person trials during the first three weeks of January.
Courts were scheduled to reopen Jan. 24 for in-person trials.
Rochon is one of 33 people from High Prairie, Faust, Slave Lake and other Alberta communities who face 80 charges under the General Fisheries [Alberta] Regulations, Alberta Fish and Wildlife announced Jan. 23, 2020.
Trials have been scheduled for other people from the High Prairie area charged in the operation that primarily focused in the High Prairie region.
Charges include the unlawful sale, purchase and possession of fish, including lake whitefish and walleye – a precious resource in Alberta worth protecting.
Louis Robert Bellrose is scheduled to go to trial in Edmonton provincial court from Jan. 24-28 on all charges throughout the province.
He faces 11 charges from High Prairie, four in Stettler, three in Edmonton and one in Morinville.
Elizabeth Ann Andrews, Lee Roy Andrews and Ryan Ira Andrews are scheduled for trial Feb. 15-18 in High Prairie.
Elizabeth Andrews faces three charges, Lee Andrews two charges, and Ryan Andrews four charges.
Mickey Roland Andrews is scheduled for trial June 30 in High Prairie. He faces one charge.
Fish and Wildlife laid the charges after a two-year undercover investigation the focused on trafficking of fish in northern and central Alberta.
Fish were netted primarily in Lesser Slake Lake northeast of High Prairie and Winagami Lake northwest of High Prairie under the guise of Metis and Treaty domestic fishing rights.
However, no commercial fisheries are located in Alberta and Metis and Treaty harvesting rights allow for personal subsistence use only.
Other people charged are from Morinville, Edmonton, Vegreville, Bashaw, Castor and Halkirk.
The final undercover buy occurred Jan. 23, 2020 when authorities seized a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 truck, four gill nets, five fish tubs and gill netting equipment.
During the course of the investigation, about 12,000 lbs of fish were allegedly illegally killed and subsequently trafficked from Lesser Slave Lake and Winagami Lake.
All fish seized was distributed to people in need throughout Alberta.
Those charged face a maximum fine of $100,000 and incarceration per count