Mining Watch Canada says there’s still hope for their charges to go forward against the BC Government and Mount Polley Mining Corporation despite the federal crown prosecutor having directed a stay of the proceedings at Williams Lake Provincial Court Friday morning.
MWC program coordinator Ugo Lapointe said after going into an in-camera session before noon that the Court questioned if the Crown had the authority to stay the charges right away without any evidence having been presented.
Alexander Clarkson with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said there were two main reasons why the Crown asked for the stay.
“We seen the evidence and we didn’t think there was going to be anymore, and it wouldn’t justify the Court time. Then secondly in a case where there’s an outstanding investigation being conducted by 3 different agencies collecting evidence-not the situation I think the public interest wants in terms of going to trial without all of the evidence.”
A fixed date to challenge the Crown according to MWC lawyer Lilina Lysenko should be reached by January 27, 2017.
MWC asserts that there is enough evidence in connection with the 2014 tailings pond breach to warrant charges under the Canadian Fisheries Act.
“There was 25 million cubic meters of waste water, mining waste that went into Hazeltine Creek, Polly Lake, Quesnel Lake; the evidence is there-there were fish there, fish habitat was destroyed there is no question about that…One of the problems with this case is that we actually had too much evidence.” says Lapointe.
“It’s been almost 3 years and it was the worst environmental mining disaster, the biggest mining spill in Canadian history, and there’s been no charge by any government level. What does that say about the deterrent effect that Canadian law needs to send all across the county for other operators? We’re very concerned about that aspect. “