PORT HARDY— Former School District 85 teacher Timothy Oullette, who faces child pornography charges, will return to Port Hardy in January to hear the charges against him.
Oullette was scheduled for his first appearance last week in the Port Hardy Courthouse. Dan Nowasad acted as agent for the defence, while Oullette himself was not present in the courtroom.
The court set an arraignment date for Oullette’s case, initially for January 10th in Port Hardy, later amended to January 9th due to confusion over available dates.
Oullette, formerly a resident of Port McNeill, was suspended from his position within SD85 in March after the School District became aware of his initial arrest and is no longer in the employ of the Board of Education.
Officers from Port McNeill RCMP, along with members of the Vancouver Island Integrated Tech Crimes Unit, served a search warrant on Oullette’s residence in March after the B.C. Integrated Child Exploitation Unit shared an investigative package with the local detachment.
Oullette was arrested without incident that day and multiple pieces of evidence seized. He was then released in multiple conditions pending further investigation.
Earlier this month the B.C. Provincial Crown Counsel laid two charges relating to the investigation, namely possession of child pornography and possession of child pornography for the purposes of distribution or sale.
Oullette is currently on bail with conditions restricting him from being near children under 14 and restricting his access to the internet and internet-capable devices.
• Dennis Woloshuk appeared in court facing charges of possession of illegally caught fish, and placing or setting gear or apparatus during close time.
Woloshuk contested the charges, which date to September of last year.
The Defence, in a somewhat obscure argument, contended that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans policy of issuing variance notices for closures was not legally sound and did not give adequate notice to its clients.
The Defence also used witness testimony to put forward that Woloshuk had been led to believe that a gentleman’s agreement was in effect in the area, allowing an early start for fishermen.
The Crown’s position was more straightforward. Its submission was that the DFO was in accordance with the law in posting variances, and that ignorance was no defence.
Even if the Defence’s proposition was true and the variance notice was improper, Crown pointed out that the previous notice would be in effect and Woloshuk was still foul of the law.
Judge Gould, presiding, noted that, even if a gentleman’s agreement had been observed in the past, the agreement was not binding and had no status in law.
The Justice did have some sympathy for his plight. “It may well be that Mr. Woloshuk has been a victim of circumstance,” he said, and agreed, “Variances are done in a fairly peculiar manner.”
However, he did find Woloshuk guilty since, “Clearly the accused and his vessel were in the area and had in fact been fishing.”
In its submission for sentencing, Crown too had some sympathy for the accused due to witness testimony. Initially Crown had thought to suggest a fine in the region of $10,000 and a year’s prohibition for the “blatant disregard” of the law.
On reflection of testimony, Crown suggested that it did seem that the accused “had been led down the proverbial garden path.” Crown suggested that a $5,000 fine for fishing, a $2,000 fine for the fish seized and no prohibition order would be more in order, since the offence was still an “economic decision.”
The Judge ordered Woloshuk to pay a $1,000 fine and $3,000 compensation on the fishing during closed time offence and a $500 fine and $500 compensation in relation to the fish seized.