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Vienneau V. The Queen, 2017 NBCA 20, New Brunswick Court Of Appeal (Richard, Quigg And Green Jj.a.), 4 May 2017

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal dismissed an application for leave to appeal brought by two men convicted under the provincial Fish and Wildlife Act for hunting moose out of season. The appellants claimed that they had a section 35 right to hunt without a licence due to their distant Aboriginal ancestry, their self-identification as Aboriginal persons, and their acceptance by the local Aboriginal community. The trial judge dismissed this argument, and this was upheld on summary conviction appeal: 2014 NBQB 92 (summarized in our e-Newsletter of 24 June 2014). At this stage, the appeal of the summary conviction appeal was limited to errors of law. The appellants argued that the trial judge had carved out a restrictive and erroneous definition of “community” by restricting it to the residents of an Indian reserve. The Court of Appeal agreed with the summary conviction appeal judge that no such error had been made by the trial judge. There was no error of law for the Court to review, and the application for leave to appeal was dismissed.