BRITISH COLUMBIA

Port Renfrew, B.C., man who shot bothersome bruin cleared of all charges

06/07/2013 02:24 EDT | Updated 08/07/2013 05:12 EDT
VICTORIA - Nearly three years after a Port Renfrew, B.C., man chased and shot a large and troublesome black bear that had been harassing his Vancouver Island community, a judge has acquitted the man of all charges.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robin Baird has tossed out the $3,300 fine and three-year hunting ban imposed on Gregory Klem and has chided the provincial court judge who imposed the original convictions.

Baird says Klem's convictions on the charges either defy the evidence, lack evidence, or the offence simply doesn't exist in law.

Baird also criticized the judge and Crown counsel in the case, noting Klem was acting in his own defence and it was unfair of them not to tell him that a conviction on one count would net a hefty mandatory fine, rather than the minor fine Klem had been led to expect.

Klem was charged with several offences, including hunting during a closed season and unsafe hunting after the July 2010 incident when an aggressive black bear wandered into his yard in the small community, about 100 kilometres northwest of Victoria.

Klem scared it away but feared it was heading to a nearby playground and followed it through town, eventually shooting it when it turned on him as he stood just metres away.

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