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					                                                                          Fourth Floor 747 Fort Street
                             Environmental                                Victoria British Columbia
                                                                          Telephone: (250) 387-3464
                                                                          Facsimile: (250) 356-9923
                             Appeal Board                                 Mailing Address:
                                                                          PO Box 9425 Stn Prov Govt
                                                                          Victoria BC V8W 9V1

DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)
In the matter of an appeal under section 101.1 of the Wildlife Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.
488.

BETWEEN:           Jeffrey Scouten                                        APPELLANT

AND:               Deputy Director of Wildlife                          RESPONDENT

BEFORE:            A Panel of the Environmental Appeal Board
                   Robert Wickett, Panel Chair

DATES:             November 16 and 17, 2006, February 16, 2007,
                   and concluded in writing on June 15, 2007

PLACE:             Kelowna, BC

APPEARING:         For the Appellant: Calvin Scouten
                   For the Respondent: Darcie Suntjens, Counsel

APPEAL

[1]    Jeffrey James Scouten appeals the March 23, 2005 decision of T.J. Ethier,
Deputy Director of Wildlife (the “Deputy Director”), Ministry of Environment (the
“Ministry”) to cancel Mr. Scouten’s hunting licence privileges and to impose upon
him a period of ineligibility of 25 years, ending on 23:59 hours, March 18, 2030.
During the period of ineligibility, Mr. Scouten will not be able to hunt or obtain or
renew a British Columbia hunting licence. The Deputy Director also required Mr.
Scouten to successfully complete the Conservation and Outdoor Recreation
Education (“CORE”) program before his hunting licence privileges may be
reinstated.

[2]    The Environmental Appeal Board has the authority to hear this appeal under
Part 8 of the Environmental Management Act, and section 101.1 of the Wildlife Act.
Section 101.1(5) of the Wildlife Act provides:
     (5) On an appeal, the appeal board may

         (a) send the matter back to the regional manager or director, with
             directions,

         (b) confirm, reverse or vary the decision being appealed, or
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                    Page 2

        (c) make any decision that the person whose decision is appealed could
            have made, and that the board considers appropriate in the
            circumstances.

[3]  Mr. Scouten asks the Board to reduce or eliminate the period of ineligibility
imposed upon him by the Deputy Director.

BACKGROUND

[4]   This matter arises as a consequence of an undercover operation mounted by
the conservation office of the Ministry. Jeffrey Scouten and his father, Calvin
Scouten, were suspected of engaging in various illegal wildlife activities. Upon
conclusion of the undercover operation which took place between August 1999 and
June 2000, Jeffrey Scouten was charged with the following offences, of which he
was convicted in the Provincial Court of British Columbia on July 29, 2003, by the
Honourable Judge Cartwright (R. v. Scouten et al, 2003 BCPC 0365):
      (a)    Possession of wildlife, to wit: a big-horned mountain sheep, or a part
             of it, in his possession, other than as authorized under the licence or
             permit, or as provided by regulation, contrary to s. 33(2) of the
             Wildlife Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 488.
      (b)    Acting as a guide for game, to wit: cougar, when he did not hold a
             valid licence to do so, contrary to s. 48(1) of the Wildlife Act, R.S.B.C.
             1996, c. 488.
      (c)    As a party to the offence of hunting for cougar without a valid,
             uncancelled species licence for cougar, contrary to s. 5(1) and s. 6 of
             the BC Regulation 8/99, enacted pursuant to the Wildlife Act, R.S.B.C.
             1996, c. 488 and;
      (d)    Possession of dead wildlife or a part of it, to wit: cougar, other than as
             authorized under a licence or permit, or as provided for by regulation,
             contrary to s. 33(2) of the Wildlife Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 488.

[5]   As a consequence of the foregoing convictions, Mr. Scouten was fined the
cumulative sum of $1,900 and ordered to make a payment to the Habitat
Conservation Trust Fund in the cumulative amount of $13,600.

[6]    Mr. Scouten was acquitted of a number of other counts relating to the
unlicensed hunting, killing and possession of a grizzly bear in the Revelstoke area of
British Columbia (the “Revelstoke Bear”), and possession of a grizzly bear hide,
other than as authorized under a licence.

[7]    In respect of the counts relating to the killing and possession of the
Revelstoke Bear, the Court found that there was no independent evidence that Mr.
Scouten had hunted, killed and possessed a grizzly bear, and that the only evidence
against him was a series of admissions made to the undercover conservation
officers and to others. The Court found that Mr. Scouten’s admissions alone were
not sufficient to prove the offence. In particular, the Court found that Mr. Scouten
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                   Page 3

had exaggerated other stories to the conservation officers, that his story in respect
of the Revelstoke Bear was inherently improbable and that he could not rely on it
as proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the offence had occurred.

[8]   With respect to the possession of a grizzly bear hide, for which Mr. Scouten
was also acquitted, the Court found that Mr. Scouten took possession of a bear hide
that he knew was illegal but that it would be unfair to convict him because,
although it did not amount to entrapment, the bear hide had been given to him by
the conservation officers.

[9]   In dealing with the issue of entrapment in the context of those offences for
which Mr. Scouten was convicted (and in finding that the defence of entrapment
was not available), the Court said this, at paragraph 28:
      I have considered whether Jeffrey Scouten could have used and raised
      an entrapment defence regarding these charges. Certainly, he was a
      permissible target for the conservation officer as he was consistent in
      displaying a desire to disregard the law concerning wildlife, and he was
      very open about this flagrant disregard. He appeared to view the
      Wildlife Act as something to get around, not to follow.

[10] On June 22, 2004, Mr. Scouten received notice from Al Martin, Director of the
Fish & Wildlife Recreation Allocation branch, that the Ministry intended to consider a
suspension, cancellation and/or period of ineligibility with respect to Mr. Scouten’s
hunting privileges. The Director offered Mr. Scouten an opportunity to be heard on
or before noon on July 23, 2004. The letter enclosed a variety of attachments.

[11] Mr. Scouten did not avail himself of the opportunity to make a submission
with respect to the cancellation of his hunting privileges and imposition of a period
of ineligibility, and on March 23, 2005, the Deputy Director issued the decision
which is the subject of this appeal.

[12] In making his decision, the Deputy Director indicated that he had considered
a number of documents and submissions including the following:
      (a)    Handwritten affidavit of Patrick Scott, dated May 25, 2001;
      (b)    Written statement of Spencer Schramm, dated June 27, 2001;
      (c)    The Information in support of the search warrant;
      (d)    The Oral Reasons for Judgment of the Honourable Judge Cartwright,
             dated July 29, 2003.

[13] The Deputy Director also noted that Mr. Scouten had not made any
submission when given the opportunity to be heard.

[14] In reaching his decision that a 25-year period of ineligibility to hunt was an
appropriate penalty in the circumstances of Mr. Scouten’s case, the Deputy Director
relied on the following factors:
      (a)    His [Mr. Scouten’s] flagrant and gross abuse of wildlife regulations;
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                       Page 4

        (b)    His flagrant disregard for the law;
        (c)    Demonstrating disrespect for the wildlife resource and the
               environment;
        (d)    Egregious behaviour;
        (e)    Illegal guiding and black market hunting are serious offences;

        (f)    His lack of remorse; and

        (g)    A repetitive pattern of illegal behaviour with full intent to violate the
               law.

[15] It is clear from the Deputy Director’s decision of March 23, 2005, that he
took into account not only those offences for which Mr. Scouten was convicted in
Provincial Court, but also other activities, some of which formed the factual basis
for the offences for which Mr. Scouten was acquitted. In particular, the Deputy
Director took into account the following matters:

        (a)    That Mr. Scouten had illegally hunted, killed and possessed the
               Revelstoke Bear in 1999;

        (b)    That he had possessed an illegal bear hide in 2000;

        (c)    Admissions made by Mr. Scouten to the undercover conservation
               officers that he had previously acted as a guide without a licence; and

        (d)    The evidence of Scott and Schramm who attested to a variety of illegal
               acts relating to the Wildlife Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 488.

ISSUES

[16]    This appeal raises the following issues:
1.      Whether the Deputy Director took into account irrelevant factors when
        imposing the period of ineligibility; and
2.      In all the circumstances, whether the period of ineligibility should be
        eliminated or reduced.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION

[17] At the time of the events that led to the penalties against Mr. Scouten,
section 24(2) of the Wildlife Act provided as follows:
24     (2) If a person holding a licence or limited entry hunting authorization issued
           under this Act or the regulations is convicted of an offence under

          (a) this Act, other than section 22, subsections (6), (7) or (14) of this
              section, sections 26(1)(a), (e), (f) and (g), 28, 81 and 82,
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                     Page 5

        (b) section 9 of the Firearm Act,

        (c) the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (Canada) or its regulations,

        (d) the Fisheries Act (Canada) or its regulations, or

        (e) the Criminal Code respecting the use or possession of firearms while the
            person is hunting,

        or for any other cause considered sufficient by the director, and after
        providing an opportunity for the person to be heard, the director may
        suspend the licence or limited entry hunting authorization and all rights
        under it for a period, within any prescribed limits, or may cancel it.
24   (5) If a licence or limited entry hunting authorization is cancelled, the director
         may order that the person is ineligible to obtain or renew a licence or
         limited entry hunting authorization for a period, within the prescribed
         limits, and the director must inform the person of the period of ineligibility.

[18] The maximum period of ineligibility with respect to section 24(5) of the
Wildlife Act is 30 years (section 7.05 of the Wildlife Act General Regulation, BC Reg.
340/82).

DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

1.    Whether the Deputy Director took into account irrelevant factors
      when imposing the period of ineligibility

[19] As previously noted, it is clear from the Deputy Director’s decision of March
23, 2005, and from the submissions of the Respondent on this appeal, that the
Deputy Director took into account not only those matters for which Mr. Scouten was
convicted (unlawful possession of a big horn mountain sheep, guiding without a
guide outfitters licence, hunting a cougar without a hunting licence, and possessing
a cougar other than licensed), but also the alleged offences for which Mr. Scouten
was either acquitted or not charged with (hunting and possession of the Revelstoke
Bear, possession of a bear hide, offering to act as a guide for bear without a valid
licence, and illegal guiding of non-resident hunters).

[20] In considering the appropriate period of ineligibility, the Deputy Director also
took into account the statements of Messrs. Scott and Schramm, two American
hunters who provided statements to the US Fish and Wildlife Services which were,
in turn, provided to the conservation officers. These two statements detailed a
variety of apparently illegal actions by Mr. Scouten in respect of the wildlife laws.

[21] Mr. Scott swore an eight-page affidavit on the 25th of May, 2001, wherein he
detailed a number of apparently illegal activities undertaken by both Calvin and Jeff
Scouten, including illegal guiding, illegal transportation of wildlife, and various
examples of hunting without an appropriate licence.
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                  Page 6

[22] Mr. Schramm gave a written statement dated June 27, 2001, wherein he also
detailed a number of hunting trips which were apparently undertaken without
appropriate licences and game tags.

[23] At the hearing of this appeal, counsel for the Respondent advised the Board
that the Respondent would not seek to rely upon the statements of Messrs.
Schramm and Scott to support the hunting ban and period of ineligibility imposed
upon Mr. Scouten. The Respondent made this concession because the Respondent
was not able to produce either Messrs. Scott or Schramm as witnesses at the
appeal, and the Respondent acknowledged that it would render the appeal process
unfair to permit that evidence to be introduced for the truth of what it asserts
without affording Mr. Scouten the opportunity to cross-examine and test the
veracity of that evidence.

[24] The Respondent, however, submits that the admissions made by Mr. Scouten
with respect to the Revelstoke Bear, the evidence with respect to possession of the
unauthorized bear hide, and Mr. Scouten’s admissions with respect to illegal guiding
should be considered by the Board in determining an appropriate period of
ineligibility. In respect of the illegal guiding and hunting allegations that were
otherwise detailed in the Scott and Schramm statements, the Respondent submits
that those allegations should be considered by the Board only on the basis that
admissions were also made by Mr. Scouten to the undercover conservation officers.

[25] The Panel concludes that it was not improper for the Deputy Director to have
considered the Scott and Schramm statements in determining an appropriate
period of ineligibility for Mr. Scouten. This is because Mr. Scouten did not avail
himself of his opportunity to be heard before the Deputy Director. Had Mr. Scouten
made a submission to the Deputy Director with respect to the veracity of the Scott
and Schramm statements, then the Deputy Director would have been required to
make a determination as to the truth of the statements. Without a denial from Mr.
Scouten, the Deputy Director was entitled to accept the statements as true.

[26] That, however, does not end the matter because the Board is required to
assess the evidence anew and determine an appropriate period of ineligibility. In
the face of Mr. Scouten’s denial of the truth of many of the statements of Mr. Scott
and Mr. Schramm, and in consideration of the fair concession made by the
Respondent, the Panel will not consider the Scott and Schramm statements in
determining an appropriate period of ineligibility.

[27] With respect to the remainder of the allegations, Mr. Scouten submits that
the Board ought to consider only those offences for which he was convicted, and
that the Board should disregard the remaining allegations in determining an
appropriate period of ineligibility. Mr. Scouten submits that these allegations are
unproven and, with respect to the Revelstoke Bear, simply never occurred. Mr.
Scouten submits that the Deputy Director erred in taking these matters into
account in making his assessment of the period of ineligibility.

[28] The Respondent submits that although those allegations did not result in
convictions in criminal court, the Deputy Director was (and the Board is now)
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                    Page 7

entitled to consider these matters as having been proven on the balance of
probability, and as relevant factors when imposing a period of ineligibility.

[29] In the face of these submissions, the Panel is required to assess the evidence
relating to these allegations and then make appropriate findings.

The Revelstoke Bear

[30] The Respondent alleges that Mr. Scouten illegally shot a grizzly bear in the
Revelstoke region of British Columbia in the spring of 1999. The evidence in
support of the allegation comes entirely from the mouth of Mr. Scouten. There is
no independent verification that a grizzly was in fact shot by Mr. Scouten.

[31] Mr. Scouten made a detailed admission of shooting this bear to both of the
conservation officers involved in the undercover operation. The story told to each
of the officers was very similar in both substance and in detail. Both conservation
officers gave evidence at the hearing and each testified that Mr. Scouten told them
(independently and at different times) of illegally shooting the grizzly bear. They
testified that Mr. Scouten told them that he had shot a very large grizzly bear near
Revelstoke without the necessary licence and that he had called his father to attend
at Revelstoke to transport the bear for delivery to a taxidermist.

[32] In his evidence at the appeal hearing, Mr. Scouten testified that there was no
truth to this story. He testified that he never shot a grizzly bear near Revelstoke.
He admits to repeating this story separately to each of the undercover officers but
he testified that these stories were lies told to impress the undercover officers.

[33] Mr. Scouten submits that the story is inherently improbable as a number of
the details relayed by the undercover officers in their recollection of the story are
not logical. For example, one of the undercover officers testified that Mr. Scouten
had admitted to shooting the bear with a rifle that is completely unsuitable for
shooting a grizzly. Mr. Scouten submits that this is evidence that the story is
untrue.

[34] It is clear from the evidence of Mr. Scouten’s repeated admissions to the
undercover officers that, irrespective of the truth of the story, Mr. Scouten was very
interested to impress upon the undercover officers that he was someone who was
eager to flout the wildlife laws and was proud of his ability to escape undetected.

[35] In his submissions on this point, Mr. Scouten asserts that his admissions to
the undercover officers should be entirely disregarded as “beer parlour talk”. As
there is no evidence that Mr. Scouten was under the influence of alcohol while
telling this story, the Panel takes Mr. Scouten’s submission to mean that he was
boasting to the undercover officers about his illegal hunting activities in an effort to
impress them as someone who could, and would, assist them with their illegal
hunting activities.

[36] The Panel acknowledges that the Court found that this story was inherently
improbable in its detail, particularly as to the size of the bear. It is without doubt
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                      Page 8

that either the story is true in substance or, even if it is not true, it provides a clear
window into the mind and attitude of Mr. Scouten in relation to the wildlife laws.

[37] The Panel concludes on all of the evidence that Mr. Scouten is not a reliable
witness. Mr. Scouten had motive to lie to the undercover officers (to impress them
as someone who would guide for them illegally) and there is simply no way to
determine if there is a grain of truth to the story. Equally, the Panel does not
accept Mr. Scouten’s evidence given at the hearing unless supported by other,
independent evidence. In particular, the Panel does not accept his testimony that
he did not shoot the Revelstoke Bear.

[38] The Panel is left with no evidence of any kind upon which it can rely to
determine whether Mr. Scouten shot the Revelstoke Bear or whether it is a figment
of his imagination concocted to impress the undercover conservation officers. The
Panel will not, therefore, assess the period of ineligibility on the basis that it has
been proven that Mr. Scouten illegally killed the Revelstoke Bear.

[39] The Panel is satisfied, however, that the Revelstoke Bear story is relevant in
an assessment of the proper period of ineligibility in so far as it demonstrates Mr.
Scouten’s attitude towards our wildlife laws.
Possession of a grizzly bear hide

[40] The evidence in respect of this alleged offence is that the undercover officers
provided a bear skin to Mr. Scouten who was to attend to the tanning of the skin by
engaging a taxidermist. The undercover officers made it clear to Mr. Scouten that
the bear skin was unlawfully in their possession as it had been shot by a rancher
defending his livestock. Although it is lawful to shoot a bear in such circumstances,
it is not lawful to possess the skin from the bear. Mr. Scouten accepted possession
of the bear skin for taxidermy purposes and it was found in his possession when his
premises were searched pursuant to a search warrant.

[41] Mr. Scouten acknowledges in his evidence that he took possession of the
bear hide, but he denies that he knew it was illegal to possess it.

[42] In light of Mr. Scouten’s admitted willingness to lie to advance his position,
the Panel prefers the evidence of the undercover officers as to Mr. Scouten’s
knowledge. The Panel considers this as further relevant evidence about Mr.
Scouten’s attitude towards the wildlife laws and his willingness to disregard them.
It is, therefore, important evidence relevant to the determination of the period of
ineligibility.
Illegal Guiding and Illegal Guiding of Non Residents

[43] The evidence about illegal guiding comes entirely from the mouth of Mr.
Scouten. There is no independent evidence of these offences. It was appropriate
for the Deputy Director, and the Board in this proceeding, to consider these
admissions as a reflection of Mr. Scouten’s attitude towards the wildlife laws. It is
likely that there is some truth to the admissions, but Mr. Scouten’s unreliability as a
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                    Page 9

witness, and the lack of specificity in the admissions, lead the Panel to conclude
that it should not consider the allegations as proven.
Summary

[44] The Panel has concluded that the Deputy Director did not consider irrelevant
factors when making his decision. He properly considered the evidence based on
the information that was before him at that time. However, the Panel has the
benefit of hearing evidence and argument from both Mr. Scouten and the Deputy
Director, and has exercised its jurisdiction to consider the matter anew. The Panel
has reached its own conclusions about the evidence, as indicated above, for the
purposes of determining the appropriate period of ineligibility.
2.    In all of the circumstances, whether the period of ineligibility should
      be eliminated or reduced.

[45] As noted above, the Board’s function is to determine an appropriate period of
ineligibility. Even if the Deputy Director has, as in this case, committed no error in
assessing the relevant factors, the Board is required to assess the period of
ineligibility anew and to determine whether, in all of the circumstances, the period
of ineligibility (in this case, 25 years) is appropriate.
Appellant’s submissions

[46] Mr. Scouten submits that the period of ineligibility served to date is sufficient,
and that his hunting privileges should be restored immediately. He submits that a
roughly two and a half year suspension is appropriate in all of the circumstances.
He further submits that this period of ineligibility is actually seven and one half
years because he has been prohibited from possessing firearms since June 2000,
when the search warrant was executed and his firearms seized. Mr. Scouten
submits that whatever period of ineligibility is imposed, it should be considered to
have commenced in June of 2000.

[47] Mr. Scouten also submits that a short suspension is warranted on the basis
that the only relevant factors are those relating to the offences for which he has
been convicted. Although Mr. Scouten concedes that the convictions recorded in
Provincial Court must be given effect, he spent some time in the appeal attempting
to persuade the Panel that the offences were less serious than would appear from
the record. In fact, he took serious issue with the finding of the Court that he had
engaged in an illegal unguided cougar hunt. His position is that he was acting
legally in providing equipment to facilitate the hunt and that he had not “guided”
without a licence as prohibited by the Wildlife Act.

[48] Mr. Scouten also submits that the conservation officers undertook a shoddy
and incomplete investigation with respect to the matters at issue. He further
submits that the conservation officers have, in many ways, lied and intentionally
intended to deceive both the Deputy Director and the Board with respect to the
activities of Mr. Scouten. It is his position that the conservation officers were “out
to get” him and that they made intentional mistakes and that they lied to
accomplish that result.
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                   Page 10

[49] For example, Mr. Scouten made a detailed submission that his admissions
with respect to the Revelstoke Bear should have been discounted by the
conservation officers. He submits that their acceptance of the “beer parlour talk”
with respect to the Revelstoke Bear should have been summarily dismissed because
the story could not have been true. Mr. Scouten asserts that the conservation
officers acted improperly and with malice towards Mr. Scouten in accepting his
story about the Revelstoke Bear without undertaking an independent investigation.
Mr. Scouten acknowledges that he cannot prove that he did not illegally shoot the
Revelstoke Bear in 1999, but he also asserts that the conservation officer service
cannot prove that he did, and, therefore, the story should have been discounted.

[50] Mr. Scouten makes a similar submission with respect to the illegal guiding
admissions. He asserts that these admissions were “beer parlour” boasts and that
the conservation officers acted improperly in accepting them without independent
proof.
Respondent’s Submissions

[51] The Respondent submits that Mr. Scouten’s flagrant disregard for British
Columbia’s wildlife laws is sufficient to justify the imposition of a 25-year period of
ineligibility upon him. The Respondent acknowledges that the Board ought not to
consider the Scott and Schramm statements, but that the following matters ought
to be taken into account in determining an appropriate period of ineligibility.
I.    The offences for which Mr. Scouten was convicted are:
      (a)    guiding without a guide outfitter’s licence;
      (b)    hunting for cougar without a hunting and species licence;
      (c)    possessing a cougar other than as authorized by a licence or permit;
             and
      (d)    possessing a big-horned mountain sheep other than as authorized by a
             licence or permit.
II.   Wildlife offences that were admitted by Mr. Scouten, but for which he was
      not convicted, are:
      (a)    hunting a grizzly bear without a limited entry hunting authorization
             (the Revelstoke Bear);
      (b)    possession of the grizzly bear hide other than as authorized by a
             licence or permit;
      (c)    offering to act for guide for bear without a valid licence; and
      (d)    illegal guiding of non-resident hunters.

[52] With respect to these matters, the Respondent submits that the Board ought
to consider the Appellant’s admissions with respect to these offences as sufficient
grounds to conclude that they occurred, and that they should be taken into account
in imposing a period of licence ineligibility.
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                  Page 11

[53] The Respondent also submits that the period of licence ineligibility ought to
commence on March 23, 2005, when the cancellation was imposed by the Deputy
Director. The Respondent asserts that although Mr. Scouten was banned from
possessing firearms as of June 30, 2000, those additional five years during which
Mr. Scouten was effectively prohibited from hunting should not be counted in the
period of ineligibility. The Respondent does concede, however, that this period of
time can be considered in imposing a period of ineligibility.

[54] The Respondent submits that all of these activities, when considered
together, show a complete, wanton disregard of the wildlife laws by Mr. Scouten,
and that a 25-year period of ineligibility is appropriate and is consistent with other
decisions rendered by the Board.

[55] The Respondent also submits that the fines imposed upon Mr. Scouten by the
Provincial Court ought to be given minimal weight in assessing a period of
ineligibility as it is contemplated under the Wildlife Act that suspension or
cancellation will follow conviction in Provincial Court.

The Panel’s findings

[56] The Panel has concluded that it is appropriate to consider not only those
offences for which Mr. Scouten was convicted, but also Mr. Scouten’s admissions in
respect of the Revelstoke Bear, the possession of the grizzly bear hide, and illegal
guiding as aggravating factors in assessing the period of ineligibility. Section 24(2)
of the Wildlife Act clearly allows the Deputy Director, or the Board, to suspend or
cancel a licence for a conviction of certain offences under the Wildlife Act “or for
any other cause considered sufficient by the director…”.

[57] The Panel rejects the submissions that the conservation officers were “out to
get” Mr. Scouten or that they lied, or were incompetent, in their investigation. The
undercover conservation officers conducted their investigation properly and they
accurately recorded the actions and admissions of Mr. Scouten.

[58] In light of these findings, the Panel will compare Mr. Scouten’s actions to
those of other hunters who have received periods of ineligibility and to the
maximum period of ineligibility (30 years) mandated by the Wildlife Act General
Regulation.

[59] The Panel has reviewed a number of decisions wherein periods of ineligibility
were considered by other panels of the Board.

[60] On one end of the spectrum is the decision of Johnston v. Deputy Director of
Wildlife, (Appeal No. 95/45, September 4, 1996), [1996] B.C.E.A. No. 40 (Q.L.),
wherein the Appellant, Dr. Johnston, was given a 10-year period of ineligibility upon
his conviction for two counts of hunting without a licence, one count of using
another person’s licence, one count of continuing to hunt after exceeding a
seasonal bag limit, and one count of exporting illegally. All of these convictions
were recorded in respect of illegal hunting of sheep within British Columbia. In
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                   Page 12

imposing the period of ineligibility, the Deputy Director noted that Dr. Johnston’s
behaviour indicated pre-meditated and extremely unethical hunting behaviour, and
a deliberate disregard for the conservation laws of British Columbia. He also noted
that there was a deliberate effort on Dr. Johnston’s part to flaunt the law and that
he showed no remorse for his actions. On appeal, the Board found that Dr.
Johnston’s actions warranted the penalty, and that perhaps 10 years was lenient.
In making this finding, the Board noted that the Appellant minimized the
seriousness of his actions and indicated a reluctance to take responsibility.

[61] At the other end of the spectrum is the Board’s decision in Loring v. Deputy
Director of Wildlife, (Decision No. 2005-WIL-008(a), November 29, 2005), [2005]
B.C.E.A. No. 25 (Q.L.). In that decision, the Board upheld a 25-year period of
ineligibility imposed upon Mr. Loring. Mr. Loring had been convicted of 29 counts of
violating the Wildlife Act in respect of several different incidents, all investigated by
undercover officers of the conservation officer service. Upon conviction in criminal
court (R. v. Loring [2001] B.C.P.C. Prince George Registry No. C05651), Mr. Loring
was sentenced to 15 months in prison, the longest prison sentence ever imposed
upon someone for violation of the wildlife laws in British Columbia. In the Loring
case, the Provincial Court noted that Mr. Loring and his co-accused were “repetitive,
apparently incorrigible poachers who regularly flaunted the Wildlife Act. Both
acknowledged in conversations with [undercover conservation officers] night
hunting, poaching, bear baiting and trafficking poached game.”

[62] In this case, the Panel concludes that Mr. Scouten’s actions demonstrate a
flagrant disregard of the wildlife laws and that this disregard is aggravated by his
attitude as demonstrated, for example, by the Revelstoke Bear story which conveys
contempt for the wildlife regime in this Province. Mr. Scouten is deserving of a
substantial period of ineligibility. Mr. Scouten’s actions, however, are not in the
same category of those of Mr. Loring in the case referred to above.

[63] Mr. Scouten embarked on an illegally guided cougar hunt and was found in
possession of an unpinned sheep. While the Panel has found that it will not assess
the period of ineligibility on the basis that Mr. Scouten illegally killed the Revelstoke
Bear, it has found that he illegally possessed a bear skin, he may have illegally
poached the Revelstoke Bear, and he has repeatedly boasted about his willingness
to engage in illegal guiding activities. All of these actions, and Mr. Scouten’s
complete lack of remorse and his unwillingness to accept responsibility for his illegal
acts, merit the imposition of a very substantial period of ineligibility.

[64] Having said this, Mr. Scouten cannot be described as an “incorrigible
poacher”. In this regard, the gravity of the offences for which Mr. Scouten was
convicted were reflected in the sentence imposed upon him by the Court (a
financial penalty totaling $15,500) and stand in contrast to the 15-month jail term
imposed upon Mr. Loring.

[65] It is important to maintain proportionality in the imposition of periods of
ineligibility. In light of the factual uncertainty surrounding the Revelstoke Bear,
which the Panel considers the most serious allegation against Mr. Scouten, the
DECISION NO. 2005-WIL-010(a)                                                  Page 13

Panel concludes that Mr. Scouten should not receive the same period of ineligibility
as that received by Mr. Loring in the case cited above.

[66] Taking all of these factors into account, the Panel concludes that a 25-year
period of ineligibility is excessive. Mr. Scouten must, however, receive a
substantial period of ineligibility to reflect the seriousness of his actions and to
demonstrate that the wildlife resource must be protected and respected. The Panel
concludes that an appropriate period of ineligibility is 17 years, which is greater
than the period imposed in the Johnston case but less than in the Loring case.

[67] The Panel further concludes that the period of ineligibility shall commence on
March 23, 2005, not June 2000. This is because the firearms prohibition was
imposed for matters unrelated to the wildlife offences.

[68] The period of ineligibility will, therefore, be deemed to commence March 23,
2005, and it will end March 22, 2022. Mr. Scouten will also be required to complete
the CORE program before his hunting privileges are restored.

DECISION

[69] In making this decision, the Panel has considered all of the relevant
documents and oral evidence, whether or not specifically reiterated herein.

[70] For the reasons set out herein, the Panel confirms the cancellation of Mr.
Scouten’s hunting licence privileges and the requirement that he successfully
complete the CORE program before his hunting licence privileges may be
reinstated, but the Panel varies the period of ineligibility imposed by the Deputy
Director by reducing it. Specifically, the Panel finds that Mr. Scouten shall be
ineligible to obtain a hunting licence for a period of 17 years, ending on 23:59
hours, March 22, 2022.

[71]   The appeal is allowed, in part.
“Robert Wickett”
Robert Wickett, Panel Chair
Environmental Appeal Board
January 22, 2008

				
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