By Lyonel Doherty
The sentencing for guide outfitter Jim Wiens from Oliver has hit quicksand as the Crown and defence work out a dispute.
In Penticton court Friday morning, Judge M. Daneliuk heard from Crown prosecutor J. Blackman and defence lawyer Kevin Church on whether Wiens was pressured or manipulated to contravene the Wildlife Act during a guided hunting trip in 2016.
Wiens was initially charged with several offences after an undercover sting operation caught him baiting a bear for two conservation officers posing as hunters.
Wiens previously pleaded guilty to hunting from a vehicle, feeding dangerous wildlife and hunting with bait. The plea deal resulted in other charges being dropped.
The court heard that Wiens, who operates Vaseux Creek Outfitters, prepared for a black bear hunt by setting out dog food and cooking grease. A bruin was subsequently attracted to the site and shot by one of the officers.
The dispute in question is whether one of the conservation officers influenced Wiens’ actions by saying his grandmother was ill, therefore, there was some urgency to speed up the hunt. Coincidentally, Wiens was grieving the loss of his own grandmother.
The defence had argued the officer knew this and used it to manipulate the outfitter by playing on his emotions.
However, Blackman insisted there was no mention of the ailing grandmother until after the offences were committed.
The judge adjourned the matter for two weeks to give the Crown and defence time to reach a consensus or decide to call evidence on this point. If the dispute is not pursued, the judge will pass sentence.
Wiens faces a possible fine for his actions.