August 08, 2015 - 6:00 AM
KITIMAT - A British Columbia fishing guide and his Portuguese client face several charges over allegations they tried to catch a deer while it was swimming in the Douglas Channel, on the northern coast.
Charges have been laid against Andreas Handl, who runs Kingfish Westcoast Adventure Tours, and Rodolofo Martins-Lopes over an incident that's alleged to have happened May 14.
Both men face one criminal charge each of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal.
The are also accused of three charges under the Wildlife Act, including harassing wildlife with a motor vehicle, hunting big game while it is swimming and hunting wildlife during closed season.
Conservation officer Ryan Gordon said the men are alleged to have used their boat near Kitimat in an attempt to corral and capture the mule deer.
"We don't know, actually, if the deer has been killed or not," he said.
Gordon said he could release few other details while the charges proceed through court.
Handl's lawyer appeared on his behalf in a Kitimat court Thursday, while Martins-Lopes made a first appearance in mid-July and is due back on Sept. 1.
Gordon said the allegations came to light when video was posted on social media.
"That wasn't confirmed by our agency, but the individuals who called in the complaint, and there were several of them, had witnessed the video on Facebook."
Vancouver lawyer Don Sorochan, who represents Martins-Lopes, said the deer was not harmed.
"It swam off and wandered into the woods," Sorochan said in an interview.
Sorochan added that he hopes to resolve the matter as soon as next month. He said his client is back at home in Portugal.
The video only shows the deer swimming, he said.
It has been removed from the site and Gordon said no one from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service had seen it.
When reached by phone, Handl said he didn't want to make a statement until he spoke to his lawyer.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015