American hunter Richard Desautel (centre) is seen here outside a courthouse in Nelson after his first legal victory in 2017. The provincial Crown has asked for leave to appeal Desautel’s case to the Supreme Court of Canada. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Canada’s top court asked to hear appeal of American Indigenous man’s hunting rights

Defendent Richard Desautel has already won three court challenges

The B.C. government has requested leave to appeal Richard Desautel’s historic hunting case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Desautel, the American hunter who shot and killed an elk near Castlegar in 2010, was originally found not guilty of hunting without a licence and hunting without being a resident in a Nelson provincial court in March 2017.

Judge Lisa Mrozinski ruled at the time that Desautel had ancestral hunting rights as a Sinixt despite the First Nation being ruled extinct by the federal government in 1956. The Sinixt traditional territory included the Arrow Lakes in the Kootenays and extended from present-day Kettle Falls in Washington state to north of Revelstoke.

That decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of B.C. in December 2017 and again by the B.C. Court of Appeal last May.

On July 30, the Crown sent a memorandum of argument to the Supreme Court of Canada that requests leave to appeal.

“The guidance of this court in addressing whether Indigenous communities outside Canada may hold Aboriginal rights within Canada and ancillary issues arising therefrom is of national importance and raises issues that have never been wholly addressed by this court,” concludes the memorandum.

The next step will be for the Supreme Court to decide if it wants to hear the case. There’s no deadline for that decision to be made.



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read