July 19, 2013 - 5:14 PM
KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops man was found guilty today for multiple charges after being caught with a dead moose in his truck outside of hunting season in 2011.
Kamloops provincial court Judge Stephen Harrison found 50-year-old Waldemar Sancewicz guilty of unlawful possession of dead wildlife and making a false statement to an officer after events that took place on Dec. 9, 2011 in Kamloops.
Sancewicz was driving his pickup truck near Mount Paul Way when pulled over by a police officer conducting alcohol screening checks around 11 p.m.
The RCMP officer noticed blood on Sancewicz and a large load covered with a tarp in the back of the vehicle. The officer, an experienced hunter and former conservation officer, noticed some hair on the vehicle which he identified as moose fur.
Sancewicz ultimately told the officer that his passenger, a man of First Nations decent with a status card, had shot the moose.
The judge noted that the officer did not find blood on the passenger, Rolland Johnson, but only on Sancewicz.
Johnson testified that he had been offered $150 by Sancewicz to go along for the ride to pick up the dead moose that was waiting just outside of Westsyde.
Defence lawyer, Matt Ford, said Sancewicz was doing a favour for Johnson's boss, a friend, by helping Johnson move the moose. However, Crown prosecutor Neil Flanagan said Sancewicz used Johnson's aboriginal rights as cover.
Harrison sided with the Crown after accepting the police officer's evidence as credible.
"It was the defence who moved the meat not Mr. Johnson," he said. "I have found you guilty."
The Crown is asking Harrison to impose fines of $3,000 to $4,000 for the unlawful possession and $5,000 to $6,000 for false statements due to the nature of the crimes and Sancewicz's history.
Flanagan noted that Sancewicz has been a hunter for 15 to 20 years and has violated hunting regulations before.
"(This was a) serious and considerable and deliberate breach of the law," Flanagan said.
He said that the court decision could set precedence in a sport that values 'honour.' Flanagan also added that Sancewicz undermined aboriginal rights as well as the pride of B.C.
"Wildlife in this province is precious," he said.
The defence asked the court to consider a total of $3,000 in fines, saying Sancewicz will be deterred from reoffending because of the publicity the case has received.
"It has been a thoroughly embarrassing matter for my client," Ford said.
Sancewicz is expected to appear in court on July 25 to fix a date for sentencing.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013