Crown alleges accused poachers ‘frustrating justice’

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A new trial date for three people from the High Prairie area charged in connection with an illegal fishing operation more than two years ago will be set in early April.
The matter of Elizabeth Ann Andrews, Lee Roy Andrews and Ryan Ira Andrews returned to High Prairie provincial court March 14.
Judge G.R. Ambrose set the matter over to April 4 to set the dates.
The trial is expected to take more than one week, said Crown prosecutor Terrance Hudson, an agent for assigned Crown prosecutor Serge Eta-Ndu.
“It’s a multi-week trial, at least two weeks,” Hudson told court.
He added the accused still don’t have disclosure.
“There’s never been a request for disclosure,” Hudson said.
“Each disclosure [for each person] will be about a four-inch-thick binder.”
He added the three have not be co-operative in moving the matter forward.
“At this point, they’re frustrating justice,” Hudson said.
A trial was scheduled for March 28 to April 8; however, it was cancelled when the lawyer for Elizabeth Andrews was removed as the counsel of record in January.
The other two accused don’t have lawyers.
Elizabeth Andrews and Ryan Andrews each face three charges of unauthorized buying/selling fish while Lee Andrews faces two charges of unauthorized buying/selling fish.
They are among 33 people from High Prairie, Faust, Slave Lake and other Alberta communities who face a total of 80 charges under the General Fisheries [Alberta] Regulations, Alberta Fish and Wildlife announced Jan. 23, 2020.
Fish and Wildlife laid the charges after a two-year undercover investigation that focused on trafficking of fish in northern and central Alberta.
Charges include the unlawful sale, purchase and possession of fish, including lake whitefish and walleye – a precious resource in Alberta worth protecting.
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.
During the course of the investigation, about 12,000 lbs of fish were allegedly illegally killed and subsequently trafficked from the lakes.

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