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.

Pre-trial conference held in Fraser Valley chicken catching abuse case

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

Defendants in the Fraser Valley undercover chicken catching abuse case were in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Thursday.

The appearance scheduled for Chilliwack-based Elite Farm Services Ltd., the company’s owner Dwayne Paul Dueck, and Ontario-based Sofina Foods was for a pre-trial conference in advance of a jury trial in the fall.

After several delays, the defendants elected trial by judge and jury in front of provincial court Judge Gary Cohen back in August 2019.

• 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.

Specifically, the charges relate to incidents in Chilliwack, Lindell Beach, Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Langley and Surrey.

More than a year later Elite, Dueck and Sofina were each charged with 38 counts under the Health of Animal Regulations in connection with the alleged abuse. 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.

The video is the crux of the case and has been the source of numerous delays as defence counsel said they were uncertain they had received unedited video. This led to arraignment delays as the accused said it could change whether they wanted to be tried by judge alone or judge and jury.

At the July 30, 2019 appearance, the issue was made clear that if the video evidence was manipulated, then defence would likely want the case heard in front of a jury. If an expert who examines the video evidence determined no editing had been done in ways beyond already admitted, then the case would be simpler and better suited in front of judge alone.

All along Judge Cohen expressed concern about the delays, particularly as it relates to 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.

Cohen essentially forced them to arraign on August 28, 2019 or he said he would make an election for them.


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.

animal cruelty

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

Just Posted

LOOKING BACK: Taking a trip… back in time

Maple Ridge Museum curator takes us back through the history of Memorial Peace Park

Socially distanced shoreline cleanup coming

Watershed Watch asks people to clean up Katzie Slough and other waterways

Maple Ridge firefighters battle pair of early morning blazes

Downtown Japanese restaurant and residential home catch fire Friday

RCMP investigating tire slashing in Pitt Meadows

Nine cars were vandalized in the early hours of Thursday morning

Beckett Park officially open in Maple Ridge

A community celebration is being planned when COVID-19 pandemic passes

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Wings and Wheels set for weekend lift-off in Abbotsford

Fundraiser to raise money for Crystal Gala Foundation and the fight against breast cancer

Undercover video shows alleged animal abuse at Fraser Valley egg farm

One employee wearing logo of Chilliwack chicken-catching company already facing abuse charges

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

Most Read