10/01/2013 02:46 EDT | Updated 12/01/2013 05:12 EST

Charges dropped against hunters as judge criticizes lengthy legal delay

CLINTON, B.C. - Wildlife and firearms charges laid against three Surrey, B.C., men have been tossed out of court by a Kamloops judge, citing a lengthy delay in bringing the matter to court.

Provincial court Judge Stephen Harrison says 25 months passed between the swearing of 16 charges against the men and the start of their trial.

Harrison says that delay caused prejudice and stigmatization to the accused.

Crown counsel Joel Gold blames the delays on a lack of resources and notes those shortcomings are not going to vanish any time soon.

Forty-four-year-old Paramjit Singh Chahal, his 23-year-old son Sukhraj Singh Chahal and a third man, Sukhvinder Kalkat were accused of shooting mule deer solely for target practice.

The Crown alleged the offences occurred in November 2010, at the OK Ranch, near Clinton, more than 100 kilometres west of Kamloops. (CHNL)