MNRF lawyer withdraws final charge
GORE BAY—Paul Skippen of Green Bay, the farmer accused of shooting a Canada goose from a roadway and out of season, had what he hopes is his final day in court last week. The case has dragged on since 2015.
At Mr. Skippen’s last court appearance—in October of last year—following an appeal of the farmer’s initial hearing, Justice Andrew L. Buttazzoni agreed with Justice of the Peace Darlene Hayden’s ruling that the charges of shooting a Canada goose out of season and without a permit should stand, but ordered a retrial when it came to the charge of shooting from a roadway, which Mr. Skippen and his lawyer Brad Allison have disputed since day one.
Following the October court date, Mr. Skippen paid the $300 fine for killing the goose.
Mr. Skippen and Mr. Allison once again appeared before Justice Hayden in a Gore Bay court on March 7 to learn his fate as it pertained to the shooting charge.
Dan Williams, the lawyer representing the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, withdrew the charge of shooting from the travelled portion of the road.
“He stated that it wasn’t in the best interest of the people to pursue the matter of shooting from the road,” Mr. Skippen told The Expositor.
Justice Hayden accepted the withdrawal.
Mr. Skippen and his support crew of Island farmers left the courtroom, hopefully for the final time.
“There you have it, four wasted years for the crime of shooting a goose on my own land,” Mr. Skippen said of the long and arduous court process.
Throughout the four years, Mr. Skippen has always maintained that he shot the goose to protect his crops, which were being decimated by wildlife including Canada geese, and used the case as a rallying cry for farmers whose crops were suffering the same fate. Mr. Skippen cited the lack of help and protection for farmers when it comes to things like crop insurance and the inability to shoot ‘nuisance animals’ on their property.