American hunter Richard Desautel (centre) is seen here outside a courthouse in Nelson after his first legal victory in 2017. The provincial Crown has asked for leave to appeal Desautel’s case to the Supreme Court of Canada. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Canada’s top court asked to hear appeal of American Indigenous man’s hunting rights

Defendent Richard Desautel has already won three court challenges

The B.C. government has requested leave to appeal Richard Desautel’s historic hunting case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Desautel, the American hunter who shot and killed an elk near Castlegar in 2010, was originally found not guilty of hunting without a licence and hunting without being a resident in a Nelson provincial court in March 2017.

Judge Lisa Mrozinski ruled at the time that Desautel had ancestral hunting rights as a Sinixt despite the First Nation being ruled extinct by the federal government in 1956. The Sinixt traditional territory included the Arrow Lakes in the Kootenays and extended from present-day Kettle Falls in Washington state to north of Revelstoke.

That decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of B.C. in December 2017 and again by the B.C. Court of Appeal last May.

On July 30, the Crown sent a memorandum of argument to the Supreme Court of Canada that requests leave to appeal.

“The guidance of this court in addressing whether Indigenous communities outside Canada may hold Aboriginal rights within Canada and ancillary issues arising therefrom is of national importance and raises issues that have never been wholly addressed by this court,” concludes the memorandum.

The next step will be for the Supreme Court to decide if it wants to hear the case. There’s no deadline for that decision to be made.



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Alberni Valley, West Coast First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail ventures online to inspire self-isolators

“Because of COVID-19, we could not do in-person naturalist programs.”

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

Most Read