Crown and defence counsel sorting out issues in South Okanagan bear baiting case - InfoNews

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Crown and defence counsel sorting out issues in South Okanagan bear baiting case

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January 18, 2019 - 4:00 PM

PENTICTON - It remains to be seen whether the trial of James Darin Wiens will need more time for additional evidence or whether the matter can be scheduled for a judge's decision.

Wiens, who lives in Oliver, was caught by the B.C. Conservation Service in a sting operation involving two American conservation officers posing as bear hunters in May 2016. Wiens pled guilty to several hunting infractions, but his trial was adjourned in late November to provide Crown and defence counsel time to work through a couple of issues that arose during the course of the trial.

Both Crown and defence counsel got together with Judge Michelle Daneliuk today, Jan. 18, in Penticton court to discuss two points of contention in the case. 

Defence lawyer Kevin Church raised concerns the Crown would attempt to prosecute Wiens based on allegations he had bear baited in the past, but Crown lawyer John Blackman said the prosecution’s case would be based only on the case at hand.

The other issue surrounded concerns U.S. conservation officers involved in the sting were aware Wien’s grandmother had recently died and were using that fact to play on Wien’s emotions and speed up the hunt.

One of them told Wiens during the hunt he was in a hurry to return home as his grandmother was dying.

Wiens’ grandmother had in fact passed away not long before the incident.

But Crown insisted the two American agents never made the grandmother reference until after the hunt was over. He said it was pure coincidence the American officers even used the excuse.

Judge Daneliuk gave counsel two weeks to discuss the grandmother issue between themselves, setting a Feb. 4 date to fix a date for a hearing for additional evidence, or for her to render a decision.

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