October 16, 2013 - 4:16 PM
VERNON - The day after the Regional District of North Okanagan was found guilty of failing to provide clean drinking water to the public, the board chair made comments to the media maintaining there had been no wrongdoing, and that’s a concern to the trial judge.
Provincial Court Judge Mayland McKimm, who was scheduled to sentence the regional district today, said he needed some time to look into the “troublesome” statements that he heard on the radio the day after giving his judgement.
“My immediate reaction, as you can appreciate was rather strong, because it showed to me a contemptuous attitude toward the findings of the court,” McKimm said.
Before sentencing, McKimm said he needs to see a complete transcript of the interview, which he heard on the CBC while driving to work. Patrick Nicol currently chairs the regional district board, and has previously stated the regional district did nothing wrong.
“(It’s) a rather astonishing comment, because of course they could have just shut off the well,” McKimm said.
During the trial, court heard testimony from a regional district employee who said the district knew the water from Antwerp Springs was unreliable. Combined with Nicol’s remarks that the regional district did all they could to protect the public, McKimm said the evidence caused him some concern.
“Frankly, it troubles me greatly if the natural inference from the quote was an attitude of complete indifference,” McKimm said.
McKimm noted that the District of Coldstream also denied wrongdoing even after pleading guilty last year.
Defense lawyer Rob Bruneau said the regional district has always maintained faith in its actions, but that it should not be interpreted as indifference.
A new sentencing date will be set next Wednesday.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013