There will be no charges laid in the case of the poisoned trees in Mill Bay.
A statement from the RCMP says that the case of the poisoning of the 28 large trees on waterfront land in Mill Bay almost two years ago was concluded before Christmas after a thorough investigation, and that no charges were laid.
“Although the complainant may have suspicions on who caused the deaths of the trees, without witnesses or conclusive evidence, the Crown would not approve a charge on this investigation,” the statement said.
When the poisoning was discovered in March, 2019, each of the trees had numerous holes drilled in them, and an herbicide or poison was put into the holes which caused the deaths of the trees within five to seven weeks.
The Shawnigan Lake RCMP detachment, which is in charge of the investigation, sent out a press release in September, 2019, asking for help in the investigation.
“The loss of these trees has negatively impacted the owner of the property,” said the police at the time.
“The property owner now faces a significant cost to have the trees removed before they fall over and damage neighbouring properties. There is also the added environmental impact due to the loss of the tall mature trees.”
Jim Cuthbert, whose family owns the large private seaside property on Mill Bay Road where the trees were poisoned, said he’s not surprised that charges have not been laid in the case, despite the fact that he believes there are just a few suspects that the police should have focused on.
“It’s quite clear how Canadian law works,” he said.
“Unless there’s clear evidence or someone admits to the crime, obviously there would be no charges laid. But the focus of the investigation should be on collecting evidence and it should persist until evidence is found from which charges could be laid, a witness is found, or the person responsible finds he can’t live with himself and turns himself in.”
Cuthbert said that, although the RCMP are saying the case is closed, it was closed two times before but reopened after new evidence came to light, and he believes it will be reopened again.
In the meantime, five of the dead trees have had to be taken down for safety reasons earlier this month, and the fate of the rest of the dead trees has yet to be determined.
“It’s shocking,” Cuthbert said.
“The property looks very different, and the neighbours are also very upset about what has happened.”