CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C- Crown Counsel won’t specify the reasons for not accepting charges recommended by the RCMP for Nathan Chickite.
In November of 2017, a video from Snapchat circulated showing a deer being shot at close range in a residential area of the Quinsam Reserve in Campbell River.
The video, which went viral and sparked outrage on social media, shows the deer’s throat being cut while the animal is still alive, and subsequently convulsing while bleeding out.
Chickite issued an apology letter for his actions, dated late in June.
However. no charges were laid for either the killing of the deer, nor for discharging a firearm in a residential area.
Conservation officer Steve Petrocvic said that RCMP had prepared a report for Crown Counsel recommending charges “related to the use and discharge of a firearm”, but Crown was not willing to proceed with them.
Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel for the BC Prosecution Service, wouldn’t specify as to why charges were not laid.
Instead, he said that Crown had “made after a thorough review of the whole of the material that was made available.”
“Crown Counsel must independently, objectively, and fairly measure all the available evidence against a two-part test: whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction; and, if so, whether the public interest requires a prosecution,” said McLaughlin in an email correspondence with 2Day FM.
When pressed further as to how a video of a man discharging a firearm in a residential area didn’t meet the requirement for a conviction, McLaughlin said there was “little else” he could advise.
Despite being asked multiple times for both access to the court documents from Crown Counsel and specific reasons for not accepting charges, McLaughlin would not answer.
“The BCPS has an obligation to provide certain information on current and ongoing prosecutions,” wrote Mclaughlin.
“On investigative files which are closed, as this file is, the release of information or documents relating to our decision making processes is circumscribed by confidentiality, common law jurisprudence and the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA). The concerns encompassed by these areas include the protection of the personal privacy interests of individuals, the privilege which pertains to the exercise of prosecutorial discretion and the privilege over the legal advice contained in the communications. ”
“We are mindful of our obligation to be responsive and have provided the policy guidelines which serve to assist Crown Counsel in the difficult decisions they make in the public interest along with our decision in this case. Any other information is constrained by the principles referred to above.”
2Day FM has sent in a request for the documents on the Crown’s decision, and will be updating the story when they become available.
Photo of Chickite sourced from Facebook.