Judge orders pre-sentence report in fisheries case

Third time charged for Wadhams, who asks court to use his Kwakiutl name

'Gee-alas' aka James Wadhams stands outside Port Coquitlam Provincial Court. The First Nations fisherman was found guilty in July of selling halibut caught under a ceremonial license. He has yet to be sentenced.

Holding out his birth certificate, the one which assigned him an English name, James Wadhams approached the bench and asserted the charge he’s facing has been laid against a fictional being, albeit one who exists on only paper.

“I’m not an aboriginal, I’m an Indian,”  Wadhams said before taking a seat.

In court, he asked to be called “Gee-alas” – his Kwakiutl name, one which he refused to spell because Kwakwala is only spoken and has no alphabet.

Wadhams hoped the saga that began in July 2009 would finally end on Monday.

“It’s been too long,” he said before entering Port Coquitlam Provincial Court.

A resident of Port McNeill on Vancouver Island, Wadhams was found guilty last July of illegally selling halibut that had been caught under an aboriginal communal license for food, social, ceremonial purposes to the owners of two fish and chip shops in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Wadhams and his “spokesperson,” Van Gale Dumont, or “Ste-emas,” continue to insist the province of British Columbia has no jurisdiction over them, much to the frustration of provincial court Judge Daniel Steinberg.

The Kwakiutl, he argued, had never ceded their land to the British and had every right to make a living through fishing.

“The federal jurisdiction does not exist here,” said Ste-emas, who tested Judge Steinberg’s patience repeatedly by demanding he produce his oath of office and persistently declaring neither the judge nor the Queen of England had power over him.

“You Europeans are the tenants of the land. This here is fraud.”

Although Judge Steinberg was scheduled to sentence Wadhams on Monday, he delayed imposing a penalty against the 61-year-old after Wadhams agreed to co-operate with a probation officer for a pre-sentencing report.

Judge Steinberg told Wadhams he wanted to learn about his background and the relationship he has with his First Nations community.

“There is a very strong impression I’m left with after a year of dealing with this is, that there is a mix of a good deal of band politics as well as a mix of Indian versus federal government,” Steinberg said.

“The community seems to have gone in one direction and Mr. Wadhams and his allies don’t like that.”

Steinberg told Wadhams he was being given bad advice by his supporters, who unlike him, bore no risk of being thrown in jail.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans began a year-and-a-half-long investigation into two fish and chip shop owners, as well as Wadhams after receiving tips from the public on Vancouver Island.

Surveillance was conducted on Wadhams, who was seen delivering fish to Amy Zhuo Hua Zheng and Michael Kam Fuk Ching, who have since pleaded guilty to the offences.

Ching, who owns Austin Fish and Chips in Valley Fair Mall in Maple Ridge, was fined $5,000 for three Fisheries Act contraventions, while Zheng, who owns Austin Fish and Chips in Pitt Meadows, got a $500 fine for two violations.

DFO officials seized Wadhams’ Ford Explorer and fishing boat as part of the investigation.

It is the third time Wadhams has faced charges under the Fisheries Act.

He has vowed take his fight to the federal court.

Just Posted

Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre’s grad 2018

Grade 12 student Jade Hanuse was presented with her diploma from Principal Sheila Mcgrath.

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Port Hardy takes next step towards legal cannabis sales

Two public hearings were held to seek input on cannabis zoning bylaw

Kervin’s Corner: Eye sore or tourist attraction? District of Port Hardy to display windmill blade anyway

Do you like the idea of putting up the windmill blade on display in Port Hardy?

Port Harvey bylaw lands in supreme court

Property owners attempt to quash zoning bylaw allowing shipyard

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Mounties seize 1,500 pot plants in ‘extensive Shawnigan raid

Mounties searched a property in the 4800-block of Goldstream Heights Drive on May 30

B.C. man wins job he was denied after saying he had depression

Transport Canada has been order to give Chris Hughes a high-level job and nearly $500,000

B.C. soldier shot down a century ago to be honoured

Norman Stuart Harper, of Kamloops, was killed on a bombing mission over Lahr, Germany, in 1918

Most Read