Published on August 19, 2011
DFO field supervisor Dan Fleck secures one of the 71 lobster traps that were seized as part of an investigation into alleged illegal fishing. Tina Comeau photo
Published on June 20, 2012
This was the scene Friday morning, April 27, at the DFO building in Tusket, where fishery officers were sorting through thousands of alleged illegal lobsters. The lobsters had been seized a few hours earlier in Comeau’s Hill. ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO
Crown withdraws charges against one man; others due back in court on July 30
By Tina Comeau
Two men charged in connection with two separate incidents of alleged illegal fishing appeared in provincial court in Yarmouth on June 19.
While they entered not guilty pleas to charges stemming from an August 2011 seizure of 71 lobster traps, they did not yet enter pleas to a large seizure of undersized lobsters that occurred in late April.
Earl Patrick Boudreau, of Wedgeport, and Dennis Joseph Clairmont, of Plymouth, will return to court on July 30, to possibly set a date for trial in the matters dealing with the alleged August incident.
Meanwhile, the Crown withdrew charges against Jamie Fitzgerald, who had been charged as a co-accused with the two men in the April seizure of undersized lobster.
Boudreau and Clairmont continue to face charges in the matter, but said they had not yet retained a lawyer on these charges.
On April 27, officers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans seized more than 6,000 lobsters in Comeau’s Hill. DFO said the lobsters were contained in about two-dozen holding cages and crates. DFO called it the largest seizure of undersized lobsters in southwestern Nova Scotia.
The other charges Boudreau and Clairmont face stemming from another DFO investigation, and to which they both entered not guilty pleas, stem from an incident on Aug. 18, 2011. At 2:30 a.m. on that date, DFO said it seized a boat and 71 lobster traps. The boat was boarded at sea in the Tusket Islands area. The seizure was part of an investigation into alleged illegal lobster fishing in the Wedgeport area that summer.
Aside from Boudreau and Clairmont a third individual is charged in connection with that investigation. Charged is Jason Wayne Marr of Indian Brook.
Charges before the court in this case include counts of being in possession of short lobsters and violating both the Atlantic Fishery Regulations and the Aborigional Communal Fishing Licences Regulations.
“I’m trying to obtain a lawyer. I have spoken with a lawyer but you’re talking some pretty big bucks when you start talking about charter applications,” Marr told the judge.
He confirmed to the court that he was making a charter application for state-funded counsel, but he said it is a complicated and expensive process.
“The steps they ask you to take, there are steps there that I just can’t take. They want an income tax return. I’ve never filed an income tax return in my life and I have no intention to ever file one,” Marr told the court.
Judge Robert Prince explained to Marr that if there is information required that he cannot provide, he can give reasons as to why he can’t.
Marr then asked for an adjournment, saying he needed time to come up with money to pay for a lawyer. He asked to have his charges adjourned for a year. The judge said he couldn’t give him that long an adjournment.
“I found (a lawyer), they just want to cut a couple of limbs off,” said Marr about the cost.
Said Judge Prince, “I can’t say anything about lawyers.”
Marr will also return to court on July 30, where his matters will be discussed further.
Clairmont and Boudreau told the court that for them to receive a fair trial, they feel that Marr’s matters should proceed first. The judge said it will be up to the Crown to determine the order in which trials will proceed.