The sudden death of a large chestnut tree that may have been intentionally poisoned has spurred an investigation by Oak Bay Police and the District of Oak Bay.
The District became aware of the tree’s rapid decline about a month ago.
The large chestnut tree sits on the municipal boulevard on Beach Drive.
The homeowner adjacent to the tree said he could not comment because there is an open investigation, however he did mention that he has received unwanted messages, both physical and verbal, in relation to the tree.
“It is unacceptable for someone to damage someone else’s property,” said Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties. “In this case, the property belonged to the District of Oak Bay.”
“Regrettably, the tree is going to have to be removed,” said Mayor Nils Jensen.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, criminal and civil charges may be laid.
“These files can be more complex than one might think,” said Bernoties. “Even when it might be obvious who has motive, we need to establish ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that a specific person is the actual individual who committed the offence.”
Whereas, in a civil proceeding, Bernoties explains, there is a lesser burden which is often referred to as a “balance of probabilities.”
“We take that kind of damage to our property very seriously,” said Jensen. “Staff continue to investigate the matter.”
More to come…
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