Verdict delayed in feud between Summerland brothers neighbouring mushroom farm | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Verdict delayed in feud between Summerland brothers neighbouring mushroom farm

Summerland brothers Bradley and Darren Besler were expecting to find out their fate in Penticton court, Monday, Aug. 9, 2021 but the verdict was delayed. Both were charged with mischief under $5,000 and criminal harassment after a feud with their neighbours who run a commercial mushroom farm.
August 09, 2021 - 11:38 AM

Two Summerland brothers have to wait a little longer to find out if the stink they put up over the smell from a neighbouring a mushroom farm was a crime.

Bradley and Darren Besler were charged with mischief under $5,000 in July 2019, and subsequently charged with criminal harassment in December of the same year. The charges stem from a dispute with the owners of What The Fungus in Summerland.

A verdict was expected to be delivered this morning, Aug. 9, at the Penticton Courthouse, but Judge Michelle Daneliuk needs more time to decide if the accused can be convicted of mischief – a lesser offence – rather than criminal harassment.

“If I determine that you are not guilty of criminal harassment, it is open for the court instead to charge you with mischief,” Judge Daneliuk said.

"We're hoping she’s just trying to make sure she’s crossed her t’s and dotted her i’s," Bradley said about the delay. 

The two brothers represented themselves over the course of the 12-day trial. They both feel they were subject to an “incredibly biased and unfair Prosecution and RCMP investigation.”

When asked if they have faith that they will receive a fair trial, Bradley said, “We have faith that we explained our story.”

The Crown will have until Sept. 10 to argue whether or not the accused are guilty of mischief, should they not be found guilty of criminal harassment. The Beslers will have until Sept. 13 to respond. Judge Daneliuk said she will try and schedule the delivery of the verdict before Oct. 5.

The Beslers first began complaining about the mushroom farm in 2019, when they say rancid odours could be smelled from the neighbouring property. They put up signs and took to Facebook to state that their neighbours did not have the proper zoning to run a mushroom farm. 

In June 2019, Summerland council granted What The Fungus with a development variance permit, which gave approval for their operations.

The first charges of mischief under $5,000 were approved against the Besler brothers the following month.

After the outcome of the trial, Bradley and Darren say they “intend to move forward with a notice of civil claim against both the RCMP and BC Prosecution Service."

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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