Former Conservation officer Bryce Casavant takes a cub to a rehabilitation organization on Vancouver Island. (Youtube screenshot)

Court vindicates Vancouver Island CO fired for refusing to shoot two bear cubs

B.C. Court of Appeal overturns Bryce Casavant dismissal for refusing orders to euthanize cubs in 2015

A former BC conservation officer who was fired for refusing to kill two bear cubs on Northern Vancouver Island has won a court appeal over his dismissal.

The BC Court of Appeal has ruled the legal process was flawed and Bryce Casavant’s dismissal should be nullified.

It was back in July 2015 when Casavant defied orders and refused to kill two cubs after euthanizing their mother, who had been seen eating garbage in a mobile home park in Port Hardy.

RELATED: Officer awaits fate as snoozing bear cubs on track for return to the wild

Casavant was fired over the incident, yet the two cubs, later named Jordan and Athena, were eventually released back into the wild from a facility for rehabilitation.

“Mr. Casavant euthanized the sow but not the cubs because he understood, from speaking with the complainant, that only the sow had been eating garbage,” stated the three-judge panel in its decision.

“Killing the cubs in these circumstances would be inconsistent with Ministry policy.”

As such, the court felt Casavant’s dismissal should be nullified. The court, however, did not order for him to be reinstated.

Casavant has maintained throughout court proceedings that as a special constable appointed under the Police Act that the decision of discharging his firearm was his to make. “My choice was not to kill them.”

“The Court of Appeal has upheld that,” he added.

Casavant tweeted a thank you to everyone who had sent congratulations about the decision, stating he believes it to be a landmark win for BC Constables.

“It’s been a very long journey,” Casavant said Tuesday, June 9 from his home in Port Alberni. “After five years of it taking its toll on my family, I feel like a weight’s been lifted; a dark cloud has been parted. My future is unknown, but it’s looking positive.”

After being dismissed from the BC Conservation Officer Service, Casavant worked for the Ministry of Forests and tried his hand at politics, running in the 2017 provincial election as the NDP candidate in the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding, which was won by the Green Party’s Andrew Weaver. He now works for Pacific Wild as a conservation policy analyst.

Casavant also graduated from Royal Roads University with a Ph.D in social sciences. His dissertation was released June 5, 2020, one day after the court decision clearing him of wrongdoing. Titled “In Search of a Wild Peace,” it examines the relationship between wildlife and the BC Conservation Officer Service’s use of lethal force.

RELATED: CO-turned-politician says wildlife office needs to rebuild the public trust

Casavant said he feels the people who fired him should be held accountable and will be talking with his lawyer about what the next step is. He has been awarded court costs for his appeal.

Casavant said six previous court decisions went against him, and called this victory “a bittersweet moment. It shouldn’t have happened, and it shouldn’t have crossed two (government) administrations like that.”

For more news from the Island and beyond delivered directly to your email inbox, click here.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ConservationCourt

Just Posted

A crowd gathers at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights in Nova Scotia

Central Saanich demonstration interrupts Friday afternoon traffic

The Baynes Sound Connector cable ferry. Black Press file photo
Baynes Sound Connector delayed due to emergency call

Paddleboarder was in distress near Union Bay Thursday

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

Sooke man Rik Downer spent two weeks in the Royal Jubilee Hospital after contracting flesh-eating bacteria. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Sooke man’s bumped knee leads to fight for life

Man unknowingly contracts case of rare flesh-eating disease

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Stone Takaya sculpture could soon ‘howl’ at Cattle Point

Oak Bay inviting public suggestions for 25,000-pound marble sculpture

Most Read