A Special Prosecutor with the British Columbia Prosecution Service (BCPS) stated to media that the charges against the Coquitlam 3 are NOT approved. The BCPS stated:
"In October of last year, the BCPS received a Report to Crown Counsel (RCC) regarding a wildlife incident that occurred in Coquitlam on July 30, 2019," the statement said. "After a thorough review of the evidence and file materials submitted the BCPS has concluded that the charge assessment standard has not been met and no charges have been approved." A media link is provided here:
This means that the Conservation Officer's evidence did not support a "substantial likelihood of conviction" and that it was not in the public's interest to proceed with a prosecution. The Coquitlam 3 have stated they are considering their legal options for a civil lawsuit.
Contrary to the BC Conservation Officer Service's claims, our team believes certain actions of the responsible Conservation Officer were inherently unlawful. Also, we remind the public and the government that the Coquitlam 3 WERE charged by the BC Conservation Officer Service and all three parties WERE slated for arraignment. The late (October 2019) involvement of the BCPS, while appreciated now, does not alleviate the issues and concerns with the Officer's actions or the department's behaviour in this case. Additional concerns have also been raised regarding police involvement in the matter and the unlawful initial seizure of two private cell phones.
A complete post incident review will be provided in the coming weeks along with a final account of the financial legal expenditures on this fundraiser.
We sincerely thank the public and donors for their continued support.
Legal Defence Fund Organizer & Police Complaint Advocate for the Coquitlam 3
We have a very generous supporter, Patrick Brauckmann who has stepped up to the plate. He has agreed to match your gifts - dollar for dollar - so we can reach our goal. Unbelievable. Thank you very much, Patrick! Also, a new blog post is up. I have filed formal complaints to the Director of Policing Services over this incident. More details coming soon. Thank you everyone for your kindness.
Big thank you to Michelle Morton at the Daily Hive for breaking the news of this fundraiser!
I am raising money to support three people who are preparing to face a serious legal challenge and need the assistance of their community.
All funds raised will go directly to their legal counsel. Any funds raised in excess of our goal will be given to the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund through Westcoast Environmental Law . Your help is urgently needed!
In British Columbia (BC), the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) is an armed law enforcement agency that looks just like police. However, unlike other jurisdictions in North America, they are not a police force. Their primary responsibilities are to enforce hunting regulations and various environmental laws. They were never formally legislated as a police force in BC.
On July 30th 2019, a Conservation Officer was chasing a mother bear and her two baby cubs through an urban residential neighbourhood in Coquitlam, BC. A resident, Tony Faccin, 42, began filming the officer’s actions. Another resident, Susan Flint, 61, began shouting concern from the sidewalk just outside her home, begging the officer not to kill the two baby cubs. Tony was with his children on the same sidewalk, filming, and telling the officer not to shoot a high-powered weapon with children present. A third individual, 68, also filming, was threatened by the Conservation Officer, chased down, and dragged by the shirt from the steps of his home (he has asked that his identity be protected at this time).
The officer shot the entire family of bears. The parties believe the Conservation Officer wanted all videos that were taken.
The Conservation Officer called the RCMP (our actual police force) and told them he was being obstructed by the residents of the neighbourhood. The police arrived, arrested all three individuals, and then let them go, determining this was not a policing matter and that there would be no police investigation. The Conservation Officer took all the phones and issued notices to appear in court for criminal charges of obstruction.
British Columbians are deeply concerned at the actions of the Conservation Officer Service that lead to the forcible removal of a senior from his home and three arrests for obstruction for nothing more than shouting concerns and filming the actions of the officer.
This is a clear abuse of authority and power by an organization that is not a police force; individuals were dragged from their property and arrested for voicing their reasonable opposition to the killing of a mother bear and her two cubs. People should be able to feel safe in their communities – not afraid of armed officers who threaten them with criminal charges and take their personal property.
As I have previously stated, I believe this is a witch hunt and highly inappropriate behaviour on the part of government officials. These three residents need our help. Please join me in getting the best legal help possible so we can fight the needless killing of baby bear cubs and ensure all members of the public are protected and free to voice their concerns for each other and wildlife.
This legal case will matter for the future of all British Columbians, and it is vital that the “Coquitlam Three” receive the best legal defense possible. Please give what you can – anything beyond the needs for this case will be given to the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund of Westcoast Environmental Law.
Help the Coquitlam Three and all British Columbia by supporting this fundraiser today.
New details of the 3 arrested:
Bear cub photo credit by Lee-Anne Carver.
My name is Bryce Casavant, I was born and raised on Vancouver Island, BC, where I currently live. I am a former BC Conservation Officer and currently a Doctoral Candidate at Royal Roads University. I am the authorized advocate for the Coquitlam three and I have consented to raise legal defense funds on their behalf (in trust) and assist them with complaints processes, forms, and finding and retaining expert legal counsel.
I am volunteering to help the Coquitlam 3. I receive no compensation in any form or in any way. I am committed to open and transparent accounting of all funds.
Financial information and distribution:
Thank you to everyone who is donating and helping with this cause. Your support and generosity is greatly appreciated. It is important to me that all supporters of this fundraiser are treated in an open and honest manner. Your generous donations are being handled in the following manner:
A stand-alone not-for profit bank account has been opened for this fundraiser:
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
Account name: Coquitlam 3 Legal Defense Fund
Type: Unincorporated association – not for profit
Signing authority: Bryce Casavant
All finances from this fundraiser will be deposited to this account in trust for the Coquitlam 3. Withdrawals from this account are authorized only for the purpose of retaining the appropriate counsel. The Coquitlam 3 will provide written direction to me on their desired lawyer and I will be responsible for completing that direction and financial transfer. Any finances acquired above the fundraising goal, or returned to the account by counsel should the retainers not be fully used, will go directly to the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund at Westcoast Environmental Law (a BC Charity) for future community advocacy and environmental legal work.
All deposits and withdrawals will be publicly reported. At the conclusion of the legal proceedings and any final transfers to Westcoast Environmental Law, the account will be brought to zero dollars, all transactions publicly reported, and the fundraising page deactivated.