Significant Acquittals in Mining Prosecution

In a recent case, Chilwin Cheng and Janessa Mason obtained acquittals of all significant charges against two mining company executives in B.C.

The Crown charged the mining company, its CEO, and its Chief Geologist each with twenty-nine charges under several environmental statutes. Ascendion Law has represented these defendants since 2015; this was the second trial. We have been through multiple levels of appeal, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and parallel proceedings, also resulting in acquittals.

The case is significant, referred to in several government reports to the public and watched by defence counsel in regulatory and criminal defence circles. We are proud to have been a part of this history. The case is doctrinally important. The Provincial Court of BC significantly expanded the meaning of a voluntary statement in statements made to government officials during a regulatory inquiry -- whichever a regulator calls such inquiries, whether they are audits, inquiries, reviews, or inspections. Any person facing regulatory prosecution based on statements they made during an administrative review should refer to reasons for the decision in the voir dire:

The reasons for the verdict are also significant as they involve a rare, detailed exposition of the secondary liability provisions found in most regulatory statutes. For directors, officers, or senior managers of corporations involved in regulated activities, this decision is a recent and detailed explanation of how you and your senior employees can be held liable for offences and crimes committed by your company: