Robert Burrows had been a licensed marine log salvor for many years. Salvors are permitted to salvage timber which is free floating or found below the high water mark. In August 2004, forest officers with the Ministry of Forests and Range (the “Ministry”) found Mr. Burrows and another man in possession of numerous logs that showed evidence of having been harvested from above the high water mark. The forest officers also found several stumps above the high water mark in area where Mr. Burrows was operating. Several of those stumps were subsequently matched to logs in Mr. Burrows’ possession. The Ministry seized the logs, which were valued at almost $13,000. The District Manager, North Island – Central Coast Forest District, determined that Mr. Burrows had contravened sections 52(1) and 52(3) of the Forest and Range Practices Act by cutting and removing timber from Crown land without authorization. The District Manager levied a $10,000 penalty against Mr. Burrows
Mr. Burrows requested a review of the determination. The reviewer confirmed the determination. Mr. Burrows then appealed to the Commission, claiming that he had been hired as a boat operator for the salvage operation, and that the other man was responsible for the unauthorized harvesting.
During the appeal hearing, the parties reached a settlement. By consent of the parties, the Commission varied the determination by reducing the penalty from $10,000 to $5,000.