Summerland brothers successfully appeal mischief charges in mushroom farm fight | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Summerland brothers successfully appeal mischief charges in mushroom farm fight

FILE PHOTO – Summerland brothers Bradley and Darren Besler were charged with mischief under $5,000 and criminal harassment after a feud with their neighbours who run a commercial mushroom farm.

The Summerland brothers who were convicted of mischief earlier this year as a result of a feud with their mushroom-farming neighbour have successfully appealed their convictions.

The feud started two-and-a-half years ago over nasty odours that were allegedly emitted from a mushroom farm on the neighbour’s property.

Brad and Darren Besler fought charges of criminal harassment and were found guilty of a lesser charge of mischief from an instance dating back to 2019. In a separate incident that also took place in 2019, they were also accused of mischief but found not guilty.

But while both successfully appealed their convictions, only Brad's legal troubles are over; Brad said Darren’s mischief charge will be reinstated by the court.

The brothers represented themselves at trial. Brad said Darren will be fighting the next stage of the appeal on his own.

“It feels great,” Brad said.

However the saga will also continue for Brad, despite successfully appealing his conviction, because he plans on filing a civil suit.

He is hoping to recoup money spent on the trial, including more than $10,000 spent on transcripts.

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In October 2021, Judge Daneliuk asked the Crown if the brothers could be found guilty of mischief as a lesser offence instead of criminal harassment. She was told that would be OK and then convicted the brothers of mischief rather than the more serious offence.

But apparently it was not OK.

"Because I conclude that a person could criminally harass another without committing mischief, it follows that mischief is not an included offence,” Justice Steven Wilson said in the reasons for judgement in Kelowna on March 25. “I therefore conclude that the trial judge erred in finding that mischief is an included offence of criminal harassment.”

The Crown proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the brothers drove their trucks along the property line for no good reason and occasionally honked their horns and spun their tires to send dust clouds of dust onto the neighbour’s property.

The Beslers set up cameras on their property to record their neighbour’s property as well as people on the property. They used rotting waste to build a maggot farm which was located immediately adjacent to the mushroom farm, even though their property “was very large and there were many other places” it could have gone. 

READ MORE: Lake Country woman develops love for fungi, starts gourmet mushroom farm

Darren parked his truck close to the property line and played loud music at high volume while the neighbour had guests over.

Brad built several large white wooden crosses on his property “under the cover of darkness” one night in August 2019. They were directly facing the neighbour’s property line. After a complaint was lodged against him, he painted “do not trespass” on the crosses.

Dates have not yet been schedule for either of the civil suits or for Darren’s next appointment.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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