Three co-accused – Mark Allen MacKenzie, Jay Alexander Jenkins and Brendon Douglas James Porter – are facing charges under Marine Mammal Regulations and also a Fisheries General Regulations charge that relates to the release of incidental catch.
The charges were laid by DFO on Feb. 1 following a social media uproar after a video was shared on Facebook of a seal onboard a fishing vessel being poked with a buoy, teased with a fishing line and kicked. The video, which had been posted on the Facebook page of one of the accused and was shared by someone else, was later removed. There had also been a photo posted on Facebook of one individual holding the seal, its head bloodied.
None of the charges and allegations have been proven in court.
The first election and plea date was April 3, with the latest court date having been June 22. The court appearances have all been extremely brief with no discussion of the matters, other than to seek and confirm adjournments. The defence asked in court on June 22 that the matter be adjourned to July 24. The Crown was not opposed. None of the persons charged were present in court.
The charges before the court are:
Government of Canada Fishery - General Regulations
Section 33 (2a & b) Release of Incidental Catch
(2) Except where the retention of an incidental catch is expressly authorized by any of the Regulations listed in subsection 3 (4), every person who catches a fish incidentally shall forthwith return it
(a) to the place from which it was taken
Government of Canada - Marine Mammal Regulations
7 No person shall disturb a marine mammal except when fishing for marine mammals under the authority of these Regulations.
8 No person shall attempt to kill a marine mammal except in a manner that is designed to kill it quickly.