Offences in a Marine Context
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The database contains 22 case summaries relating to Offences in a Marine Context. The summaries are sorted in reverse date order with 20 summaries per page. If there are more than 20 summaries, use the navigation links at the bottom of the page.
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Offences – Sentencing Principles
R. v. Atlantic Towing Ltd., 2011 NSPC 10
The defendant was charged under s. 118 of the Canada Shipping Act with having taken actions “that might jeopardize the safety of a vessel or of persons on board”. The charges stemmed from a sinking of one of the defendant‟s vessel in adverse weather. All crew members were saved. At the time of the sinking the vessel did not have a valid inspection certificate and was sailing 20 miles offshore whereas its documents restricted it to 15 miles. The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge but contested sentencing. The Court reviewed the principles of sentencing in safety legislation as being denunciation, deterrence, proportionality (the sentence is to be proportional to the gravity of the offence), parity (the sentence should be similar to that imposed in other cases) and restraint (the sentence should be a measured response). When dealing with corporations the Court noted that regard should be had to the conduct, circumstances and consequences of the offence, the terms and aims of the legislation and the participation, character and attitude of the corporation. In applying these principles, the Court said that a deliberate decision had been made to undertake a voyage in the face of gale warnings and farther from shore than it was supposed to be. Although there was no intention to jeopardize the safety of the crew, the risk assessment was seriously flawed. The fact that the defendant pleaded guilty was a mitigating factor as was the company‟s clean safety record. Ultimately, the Court held a fine of $75,000 was appropriate.
Offences - Fatal Injury - Criminal Negligence - Dangerous Operation of a Vessel
R. v. MacKay, 2008 NSPC 8
The accused was the owner and operator of a pleasure craft that collided with a buoy in Halifax Harbour. A passenger was killed in the collision. With respect to the test for criminal negligence, the Court said “if his operation of the vessel was a marked and substantial departure from the standard of the reasonable operator in circumstances where he should have either recognized, knew of and ran an obvious and serious risk to the lives and safety of others or gave no thought to that risk or was wilfully blind and the consequences were the natural result of the conduct creating the risk, only then could it be said that the accused is at fault for criminal negligence". Although the Court found as a fact that the vessel was proceeding at an unsafe rate of speed, the Court also found that the buoy with which the vessel collided had shifted its position unbeknownst to the accused. The accused was familiar with the area and had a reasonably held belief that it was safe to operate the vessel in the direction he was proceeding. Accordingly, the Court held the accused’s conduct was not such as to support a charge of criminal negligence. However, the Court did find the accused guilty of dangerous operation of a vessel the test for which is whether the conduct of the accused was "a marked departure from the conduct of a reasonable prudent operator in all the circumstances".
Offences - Collision - Breach of Collision Regulations – Offence – Due Diligence
R. v. Bridle, 2008 BCPC 52
This case arose out of a collision at night between two pleasure craft, one of which was at anchor. At the time of the collision the anchored vessel was not displaying the all-round white light required by the Collision Regulations. The accused was the owner/operator of the anchored vessel. The accused said that he only learned the anchor light was not working the night of the collision and attempted but was not able to repair it. He left an interior bathroom light illuminated in place of an anchor light. The Court found that the accused had not used due diligence in that the accused could have returned to a dock rather than stay anchored without a proper light. The accused was convicted.
Offences - Collision - Breach of Collision Regulations - Due Diligence
R. v. Cloutier, 2007 QCCQ 13533
This case arose out of a collision in the St. Lawrence Seaway between a freighter and a sail boat. Two of the four crew of the sailboat died as a result of the collision. The Pilot of the freighter was charged with failing to comply with the Collision Regulations. The Court extensively reviewed the evidence and ultimately dismissed the charges against the Pilot holding that he exercised the degree of diligence expected of a seaman.
Forfeiture - Fisheries Act
R v. Ulybel Enterprises Ltd., 2001 SCC 56
This case concerned the interpretation of the forfeiture provisions of the Fisheries Act. Specifically, the issue was whether, upon conviction for a Fisheriforfeiture of the proceeds of sale of a vessel sold under the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada thoroughly reviewed the forfeiture provisions of the Fisheries Act and concluded that s. 72(1) did authorize the forfeiture.
Crimes - Extradition - Jurisdiction
Romania v. Cheng, 1997 CanLII 9867
This is the decision of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in the extradition hearing relating to the "Maersk Dubai"; a case involving allegations of murder on the high seas. Seven officers of the Taiwanese registered "Maersk Dubai" were accused of throwing Romanian stowaways overboard while en route to Canada. Canadian authorities arrested the seven officers in Halifax. The State of Romania charged all seven officers and brought proceedings to have them extradited. The issue was whether the Court had jurisdiction to extradite the officers. The Court held that it did not have jurisdiction to extradite because the Extradition Act requires that the offence occur in the jurisdiction of the requesting state. The alleged murders occurred at Sea, not within the jurisdiction of Romania, and the officers were therefore discharged. The Court noted that but for the lack of jurisdiction it would have committed all of the officers.
Seizure - Fishing Licence
Joys v. Canada,  1 FC 149
This unusual case concerned whether a commercial fishing licence could be seized under the provisions of the Customs Act. The facts of the case were that the fishing vessel "Lloyd B. Gore" had been spotted by the U.S. Coast Guard returning from the South China Sea. The vessel was tracked and was ultimately seized with a cargo of marijuana. The vessel and her commercial fishing licence were subsequently declared forfeit. The vessel had a value of $85,000 and the licence had an estimated value of between $300,000 and $400,000. The Court of Appeal held, however, that the licence was not a "conveyance" under the Customs Act and was therefore not subject to forfeiture.