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P.E.I. court sends Brookfield Farms back to trial on fish kill charge


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A P.E.I. Supreme Court judge has ordered a new trial for a farm that was cleared of an environmental infraction that led to a fish kill.

In a decision issued March 30, Justice Nancy Key ruled the trial judge couldn’t have reached the conclusion she did based on the evidence available to her.

Key ordered a new trial.

Brookfield Gardens was charged with permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance in water frequented by fish.

That charge came after a fish kill in the North River in August 2014 that saw 1,155 dead fish collected in a 3.8 kilometre section after a heavy rain.

Chief provincial court Judge Nancy Orr ruled the farm took reasonable precautions to prevent runoff from a carrot field getting into the river.

The Crown appealed that decision.

RELATED: Brookfield Farms farmer stung by charges

An agreed statement of facts entered into evidence at trial included analysis of water samples and the dead fish that found the presence of a pesticide used on a neighbouring Brookfield Farms field a few weeks earlier.

Key found Orr erred in “overlooking, rejecting and misapprehending” facts and evidence in the case.    

She also found Orr erred in her interpretation and application of the defence of due diligence.

“The evidence before the learned trial judge in relation to the issue of due diligence was scant to say the least,” Key wrote.

In her decision, Key concluded the evidence didn’t support the trial verdict and was unreasonable in the circumstances.

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