Paul Skippen’s lawyer launching verdict appeal in goose shooting trial

Claims JP erred in law

MANITOULIN—Green Bay farmer Paul Skippen is appealing the charges he was found guilty of in provincial court earlier this month relating to an incident in which Mr. Skippen shot a Canadian goose outside of hunting season, without a permit and from a roadway.

Ms. Skippen was found guilty for both the unlawful shooting of the Canada goose outside of the hunting period under the Migratory Birds Convention 1995 and unlawfully discharging a firearm in the travelled portion of a right of way for public vehicular traffic. He was found not guilty for the third charge: knowingly making a false statement to a conservation officer.

Justice Hayden, who presided over the case, fined Mr. Skippen $1,250 plus costs for the firearm charge and $300 plus costs for the goose shooting. She did not suspend Mr. Skippen’s hunting licence for a year, but did order that the firearm that the MNRF seized from Mr. Skippen not be returned.

Mr. Skippen’s attorney Brad Allison is appealing both the conviction and sentence and filing the notice of appeal with the Ontario Court of Justice this week.

In the grounds for appeal forwarded to The Expositor by Mr. Allison’s office, a list of 23 reasons are given as the grounds for appeal: the justice of the peace erred in law by relying on expert evidence from a witness not qualified at trial as an expert; the justice of the peace erred in law by admitting into evidence information (including statutory regulations) without proper proof thereof; the justice of the peace erred in law and violated principles of fundamental justice by gathering her worship’s own evidence outside of the court proceedings, relying on that information as a basis in part for a decision in the midst of the trial and failing to give counsel opportunity to address the evidence her worship had discovered; the justice of the peace imposed a sentence that exceeded the prosecution’s position on the sentence without reasons; the justice of the peace erred in law by providing inadequate reasons for rejecting defence evidence (including, inter alia, evidence demonstrating that the prosecution theory of the offence was physically impossible); in her worship’s reasons for judgment, the justice of the peace altered evidence of a prosecution witness to fit the theory of the prosecution and drew inferences from evidence which did not flow logically and reasonably from that evidence; the justice of the peace erred in law in drawing factual conclusions based on speculation and not on reasonable inferences; the justice of the peace erred in fact by misunderstanding via voce and contradictory evidence; the justice of the peace erred in principle and in law when her worship ordered forfeiture of the appellant’s property (when forfeiture was not sought by the prosecution) without reasons and without providing opportunity for counsel to address the issue; the justice of the peace demonstrated bias against the appellant and was unable to provide him a fair trial; the justice of the peace erred in law by ruling that relevant provisions of a federal statute had been repealed when they had not; the justice of the peace erred in law by allowing the prosecution to submit and rely on sentencing precedents from unreported cases without addressing objection by counsel; the justice of the peace erred in law by applying an improper standard of proof; the justice of the peace erred in law by improperly limiting her worship’s assessment of prosecutions witnesses to a question of credibility without also considering if their evidence, even if credible, was sufficiently reliable to support conviction; the justice of the peace erred in fact by misunderstanding evidence of crime scene measurements and failed to properly apply the evidence to the testimony of prosecution witnesses; the justice of the peace erred in law by providing inadequate reasons for rejecting evidence inconsistent with the testimony of prosecution witnesses; the justice of the peace erred in principal and in law by permitting the prosecution to introduce as material relevant to sentence that was the subject of pretrial negotiations between counsel; the justice of the peace erred in principal and law by failing to consider a statutory out-of-court fine for an offence, failed to consider evidence that the prosecutor failed to inform the appellant of the out-of-court fine, then imposed a greater fine without reasons; the justice of the peace erred in law by failing to understand issues of jurisdiction argued by the appellant; the justice of the peace erred in law by allowing the prosecutor to introduce into evidence a portion of a statement attributed to the appellant without introducing the rest of the statement; the justice of the peace erred in law by failing to provide reasons sufficient to determine if the testimony of some witnesses was accepted in whole or in part or to determine grounds for rejecting such evidence; the justice of the peace erred in law by refusing to determine jurisdictional issues until the end of the trial; and the justice of the peace erred in law by allowing the prosecution to improperly elicit evidence from prosecution witnesses during the re-examination.

Mr. Skippen was unable to be reached for comment, but following his October 6 trial and verdict, maintained his innocence regarding the charge related to shooting from the roadway and at that time did state that he would be appealing the decisions made by the court.

None of the grounds for appeal have been proven in court.