September 04, 2015 - 10:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - Prosecutors in British Columbia have failed to persuade a judge to increase a fine against the owner of the NHL's Dallas Stars for damaging fish habitat in the province's Interior.
Tom Gaglardi and his company, Northland Properties, were convicted in provincial court in August 2014 on two counts each of harmful alteration of a fish habitat.
Gaglardi was ordered to pay $140,000, but the Crown appealed, asking the B.C. Supreme Court to more than double the fine to $300,000 for the man who also owns the WHL's Kamloops Blazers.
Justice Susan Griffin said in her ruling that the provincial court judge did not make an error in his penalty.
"The Crown is correct in its position that when a crime is committed by a sophisticated person for purely selfish reasons, the moral blameworthiness of the crime is great," she wrote.
She said Gaglardi's moral culpability was at the high end of the scale, noting the damage to the environment was significant.
But Griffin said the penalty was appropriate under case law.
"I may have imposed a higher fine in the circumstances, but that is not the test," she wrote.
"It is clear that the sentencing judge considered all relevant factors and I am not able to find that the total penalties imposed, when remediation costs are taken into account, were disproportionately low as to be unfit."
During the trial last year, court heard the Gaglardi family home on Kamloops Lake in Savona — known as Tom's Shack — was undergoing extensive renovations in 2010.
The charges stem from work done along the shoreline of his property.
The trial heard it will take more than 40 years to restore the salmon habitat.
A former Northland employee testified during the trial he was ordered to destroy documents and throw his computer hard drive in the lake when federal investigators began looking into alleged environmental improprieties.
Gaglardi apologized for the damage during a sentence hearing.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015