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

Victoria man charged in stabbing death of Vancouver overdose prevention worker

Maximus Roland Hayes, 23, is facing one count of manslaughter in connection to the killing

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs Vancouver Island man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Langford theft investigation leads to national crime ring

More than $250,000 in stolen goods recovered, $67,000 in cash seized

Pumps not needed to keep Cowichan River running this year

Wet year so far has resulted in higher water levels

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Devil’s Hand Poker Run in Campbell River to face RCMP scrutiny

The Campbell River RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the… Continue reading

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Most Read