A worker employed by a Chilliwack-based agricultural employer seen throwing a chicken in an undercover video in 2017 filmed by California-base animal rights activists Mercy For Animals.

Fraser Valley chicken abuse case moves forward

Sofina Foods and Chilliwack company face jury trial in connection with 2017 undercover video

The Fraser Valley undercover chicken abuse case is slowly making its way through the court system with a pre-trial conference scheduled for August followed by a jury trial in the fall.

Lawyers for the defendants in the 2017 undercover video case were in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on June 15 then again in June 18. The matter was put over to a pre-trial conference in New Westminster on August 13, followed by a preliminary inquiry on Sept. 28.

Both are standard hearings in advance of a complicated trial.

Chilliwack-based Elite Farm Services Ltd., the company’s owner Dwayne Paul Dueck, and Ontario-based Sofina Foods will like go to a jury trial some time after that unless a resolution can be worked out in the meantime.

• READ MORE: Trial by jury for defendants in Chilliwack chicken catching abuse case

• READ MORE: Undercover video uncertainty delays start of trial for Fraser Valley chicken abuse

The charges date from 2017 when California-based animal rights activist group Mercy For Animals released undercover video filmed at multiple Fraser Valley farms showing employees ripping live birds apart, stomping and throwing chickens.

Incidents on the file make allegations of abuse at farms in Langley, Abbotsford, Lindell Beach, Aldergrove, Chilliwack and Surrey.

Elite, Dueck and Sofina were each charged with 38 counts under the Health of Animal Regulations in connection with the alleged abuse. The number of charges has been reduced, but after the incidents, employees were fired, the companies expressed dismay at the actions of those employees, and the BC Chicken Marketing Board expressed disgust at the practices seen in the video.

Uncertainty over the editing and access to the undercover video proved to be the source of numerous delays in the case as defence counsel awaited proper disclosure from the Crown. Defence lawyers said that without certainty whether or not the video had been edited, they could not properly decide whether they should face judge and jury or judge alone.

Judge Gary Cohen expressed concern to all parties about the delays, and he essentially ordered defence to make a decision on August 28, 2019 or he said he would make an election for them. It was that day when the three decided on a jury trial.

Cohen’s concern stemmed from the Supreme Court of Canada’s Jordan decision that mandates trials in provincial court need to be resolved in 18 months, and 30 months in Supreme.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Justice for Mona’ rally planned for Surrey

Security camera footage shows Mona Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check at UBCO

Sources receives $70K from SurreyCares

Funds will help with warehouse space for food programs in Surrey, White Rock, Langley

Drive-in movies coming to Cloverdale

Dolittle, Trolls World Tour playing one night each at rodeo grounds

Rooftop hatchlings ‘a nice addition’ to White Rock RCMP operations

Pair of seagull chicks hatched in ‘fenced playground’ on July 2

COVID-19: ‘Contactless’ donation drive in Surrey to help women in need

Items needed for women in shelters, transition houses in the Lower Mainland

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Police nab three impaired drivers in one night in Maple Ridge

Ridge Meadows RCMP served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read