Preliminary and Final Decisions

Bawnie Robinson, on behalf of the Estate of Harry David Robinson v. Government of British Columbia

Decision Date:
January 23, 2004
File Numbers:
Decision Numbers:
Third Parties:
Ole Getz; Allan Colbourne, Third Parties


Decision Date: January 23, 2004

Panel: Alan Andison

Keywords: Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – ss.67(1), 96(1), 117(4)(b); unauthorized harvesting; timber salvage; appropriate penalty

Bawnie Robinson appealed the District Manager’s determination, as upheld by a Review Panel, that her father, Harry David Robinson, contravened sections 67(1) and 96(1) of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act (the “Code”).  Specifically, the District Manager determined that Mr. Robinson was responsible for harvesting contrary to regulations, standards, prescriptions or plans, and had harvested 116.3 cubic metres (m3) of Crown timber without authority.  The District Manager assessed a total penalty of $1000 for the two contraventions.  The District Manager’s determination and penalty were upheld by a Review Panel.  Ms. Robinson appealed on behalf of her father’s estate.

The issue in this appeal is whether the penalty is reasonable in the circumstances.

The Robinson estate did not dispute the finding that Mr. Robinson contravened sections 67(1) and 96(1) of the Code.  However, the Robinson estate appealed the penalty that was levied for the contraventions.

The Commission held that a monetary penalty of zero was appropriate in the circumstances.  The Commission agreed with the Review Panel’s finding that no compensatory penalty was required against Mr. Robinson.  The penalty against Mr. Colbourne, who was responsible for supervising and directing Mr. Robinson’s harvesting, compensates the Crown for the unauthorized harvesting.  In addition, the Commission held that specific deterrence was no longer an issue with Mr. Robinson, because he was deceased.  General deterrence on the industry was maintained given that the contraventions remained on Mr. Robinson’s records with the Ministry of Forests.  Furthermore, the Commission found that the evidence was inconclusive as to whether Mr. Robinson received any economic benefit from the contraventions.

Accordingly, the appeal was allowed.