Judge sets trial date 2 years after charges laid

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A woman and two men from the High Prairie area charged in connection with a major illegal fish-poaching operation will go to trial two years after they were charged.

The matters of Elizabeth Ann Andrews, Ryan Ira Andrews and Lee Roy Andrews returned to High Prairie provincial court March 15.

A three-day joint trial is scheduled to start Feb. 15, 2022 as requested by Sarah Terry, the lawyer for all three accused.

A trial for a constitutional challenge is also scheduled for March 28 to April 8, 2022.

Elizabeth Ann Andrews is charged with three counts of unauthorized buying or selling fish.

Ryan Ira Andrews is charged with three counts of unauthorized buying and selling fish.

Lee Roy Andrews is charged with two counts of unauthorized selling of fish.

None of the three appeared in court.

Announced in a news release Jan. 23, 2020, the three accused are among 33 people from the High Prairie, Faust, Slave Lake areas and other Alberta communities facing a total of 80 charges under the General Fisheries [Alberta] Regulations by Alberta Fish and Wildlife.

Other people charged are from Morinville, Edmonton, Vegreville, Bashaw, Halkirk and Castor.

It is alleged the fish netted were primarily in Lesser Slave Lake east of High Prairie and Winagami Lake northwest of High Prairie under the guise of Metis and Treaty domestic fishing rights.

Charges include the unlawful sale, purchase and possession of fish, including lake whitefish and walleye.

During the course of the investigation, it was estimated that about 12,000 pounds of fish were illegally killed and subsequently trafficked from the two lakes.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife announced the charges Jan. 23, 2020 after concluding a two-year undercover investigation focused on trafficking fish in northern and central Alberta.

The penalty for trafficking fish is a maximum $100,000 and one year incarceration per count.

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