Keywords:Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – ss. 98, 117; Brand Act; hearsay evidence; use of tape-recorded evidence at the Opportunity to be Heard; credibility; prior admissions.
In October of 1996 a determination was made against Mr. Johnson for allowing his cattle to trespass from his private land onto unoccupied Crown land, contrary to section 98 of the Code. A Review Panel upheld the determination and the $600.00 penalty, $568.80 of which was compensation for investigation costs. Mr. Johnson appealed on the grounds that the Crown had not established a trespass; the cattle could have been ones he sold to a neighbour and the type of property boundary survey carried out was inexact.
The Panel found that, on a balance of probabilities, cattle had been grazing on Crown land and the animals belonged to Mr. Johnson. The Panel reduced the penalty to $31.20 from $600.00 in recognition of the insignificance of the offence, the fact that penalties should not have been imposed for investigation costs, the Appellant made efforts to resolve the issue and little or no harm was done to Crown lands. The determination was upheld.