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REPORTING · 3rd September 2015
Walter McFarlane
On Thursday, September 2nd, an incident which took place in May of this year went before Judge Wright in Courtroom One of the Terrace Courthouse. Rodolfo Martins Lopes was not present, but his lawyer, Sorochan, QC, was there to enter a plea of guilty to the charge of Harassing Wildlife from a Motor Vehicle on his behalf and pay the fine.

The issue dates back to May 14th, Lopes, a Superintendent working on one of Kitimat’s projects, would be leaving town to return home to Portugal to be married. The people he was working with joined him on a fishing trip under a local guide, Andreas Handl. This was Lopes’s first fishing trip. It was reported to the court that the fishing trip was a bust.

However, on the way back to Kitimat, they saw a deer swimming in the ocean. Handl brought the boat closer to the deer, and Lopes decided to bring the deer aboard. This is where the story gets messy.

A video of the incident was posted to Facebook and several photos were seized with a warrant. The video was turned over voluntarily. It took 5 days for the incident to be reported by a third party, who saw the Facebook posts, to the Conservation Officers.

According to the Crown Council, Baerg, Lopes attempted to use a gaff hook to attempt to bludgeon the deer, and then bring the deer into the boat. When this failed and the deer got loose, Handl ran the deer over with the boat and the deer got away to shore, with the broken piece of the gaff caught in its neck.

The Defence, however, would state the whole affair had been blown out of proportion by people who had not been present at the scene, gossiping about it on Social Media. It was a jig that Lopes had used, the deer had not been run over and there was nothing caught in the deer’s neck.

It was said the witnesses who were on the boat were interviewed and substantiated the Defendants claims.

The Defence stated Lopes is sorry for what he did, and he had not been made aware of the rules for engaging an animal, from either the guide or the other people on the boat. However, he pled guilty because a deer swimming should not be molested.

The companies he worked for also sent letters describing his character, and claiming the incident was a ‘naive impulse,’ and was described by Sorochan as an attempt to look macho.

Judge Wright stated nobody was able to ascertain how badly injured the deer was and this was a total aberration in Lopes’s conduct, when looking at his history. He did point out it was not Lopes who reported the incident and it trickled down to the Conservation Officers after several days had passed.

Under section 84 of the Wildlife Act, Lopes was fined $1 and will make a contribution of $5000 for the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund with the intent this money will be spent in the Kitimat area. The money was paid from his bail. In addition, Lopes will not be able to approach big game unless required by his employment for two years.

Handl was set to appear in Kitimat the following Day, Thursday, September 3rd. However, his appearance was adjourned to October the 8th.
What It Is...
Comment by Donk on 22nd September 2015
"Lord Of The Flies" on a three hour tour.
Comment by roma on 3rd September 2015
This is the most disgusting thing I have read for some time.
This man is not fit to be a guide or anything else!
He should lose his license,his boatand be put in jail.
Yes I am an animal lover and have absolutely no time for anyone who abuses any animal.
The Guide Should Be In-charge at alltimes
Comment by Larry Walker on 3rd September 2015
Based on what I have read, the Guide he/she is totally responsible for all actions by whoever when aboard their boat. Therefore they should loose their license and vessel.
Should loose his
Comment by Lifetimeofkitimat on 3rd September 2015
The fishing guide should of known better to stay far away from the deer swimming I hope guide gets in trouble for running the deer over what a idiot the guide should loose his guiding lisence for a bit