PENTICTON - A Penticton man will serve an intermittent jail sentence and pay a hefty fine after pleading guilty to several hunting infractions.
Jason Kevin Thurston pleaded guilty to hunting out of season, hunting during prohibited hours, and possession of a firearm contrary to order as the result of an incident that occurred on Spiller Road in Penticton on April 16, 2015.
Crown Prosecutor Mallory Treddenick told Penticton court today, March 23, Thurston’s vehicle was observed by a neighbour on Spiller Road in close proximity to a dead doe at approximately 12:20 a.m.
Police were called and they found the dead animal and what appeared to be an arrow shaft coated in blood and deer hair.
The incident generated a high public profile when the public’s assistance was sought to help police identify the suspects.
The suspect vehicle was located by police on April 28, 2015 at a home where police encountered two men, one of whom was Thurston. After initially denying his involvement, Thurston admitted to shooting the deer. He had been trying to load the deer into his truck when the neighbour spotted him.
Thurston, who was subject to a firearms prohibition, had purchased a cross bow and bolts a few weeks earlier.
Treddenick told Judge Gale Sinclair Thurston had, after initially denying responsibility for the incident, quickly become forthright. He contacted Crown prior to engaging his own lawyer and entered an early guilty plea.
Defence lawyer Tyrone Duerr told court his client “profoundly regrets his actions,” adding the incident caused him embarrassment as his photo ran in the media following the incident.
He said the matter arose when his client decided, after a few beers, to help a friend without an income get some food.
Duerr told court his client, had he known, could have applied for an exception to hunt under the above circumstances, which would have eliminated the most serious charges against him.
“I’m truly sorry - I didn’t think how my actions would affect those I love. It won’t happen again,” Thurston told Judge Sinclair.
The judge agreed to a joint submission reached between counsel to have the 37-year-old pay a $5,000 fine, $4,500 of which will go to the Habitat Conservation Fund.
He’ll also spend 60 days in jail on an intermittent sentence, in addition to a lifetime hunting ban and forfeiture of his crossbow.
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