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Judgement

Judgement

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Published by The Vancouver Sun

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Published by: The Vancouver Sun on May 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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2012BCSC690TimberwolfLogTradingLtd.v.BritishColumbia(Forests,LandsandN...Page1of15
Citation:
TimberwolfLogTradingLtd.v.BritishColumbia(Forests,LandsandNaturalResourceOperations),
2012BCSC690
INTHESUPREMECOURTOFBRITISHCOLUMBIA
Date:20120410Docket:S110508Registry:VancouverBetween:
TimberwolfLogTradingLtd.
PlaintiffAnd
HerMajestytheQueenintheRightoftheProvinceofBritishColumbiaasrepresentedbytheMinistryofForests,MinesandLandsandDanielSmallacombe
DefendantsBefore:TheHonourableMadamJusticeWedge
OralReasonsforJudgment
CounselforthePlaintiff:A.WadeA.MizrahiCounselfortheDefendants:A.K.FraserPlaceandDateofHearing:Vancouver,B.C.March27-29,2012Vancouver,B.C.April10,2012PlaceandDateofJudgment:
 
2012BCSC690TimberwolfLogTradingLtd.v.BritishColumbia(Forests,LandsandN...Page2of15
[1]THE
COURT:
Theplaintiff,TimberwolfLogTradingLtd.,commencedtheunderlyingactioninJanuary2011againsttheQueenintheRightoftheProvinceofBritishColumbiaandDanielSmallacombe,claimingmisfeasanceorabuseofpublicofficeanddefamation.
ApplicationtoStriketheClaim
[2]ThedefendantsintheunderlyingactionbringthisapplicationtostrikeallorpartofTimberwolfsclaims.Thedefendantsdosoonthebasisthatitisplainandobvious,assumingthefactpleadedtobetrue,thatTimberwolfsclaimscannotsucceedattrial.Thedefendantsalsoapplyforastayofanyremainingclaimspendingresolutionofotherproceedingstheysayarerelatedtothisaction.[3]Itiscommongroundthatanapplicationtostrikepleadingsforfailuretodiscloseareasonablecauseofactionproceedsonthebasisthatthefactspleadedaretrueunlessmanifestlyincapableofbeingproven:
R.
v.ImperialTobaccoCanadaLtd.,
[2011]3S.C.R.45.[4]Bearingthatprincipleinmind,Iwillnowaddressthefactspleadedinthiscase.
TheFacts
[5]TimberwolfisaBritishColumbiacompanyengagedintimbermarketingandharvesting.ItoperatesprimarilyoncoastalBritishColumbia.TheMinistryofForestsandRange,or"MOFR,"isthedepartmentofthedefendantProvincechargedwithmanagingprovincialforests,includingtimberharvesting.ThedefendantSmallacombeisacomplianceandenforcementofficerwhowasatthematerialtimeemployedbyMOFRatitsofficesinPortMcNeill,BritishColumbia.[6]Timberwolfretainedtheservicesoftwoindependentlogscalingcompaniesduringtimesmaterialtotheunderlyingaction.TheywereBCLogInventoryServicesoperatedbyDonaldGood,andM
&
GLogScalingLtd.operatedbyGregWaltersandMaxPerry.[7]Inthespringandsummerof2008,thedefendantSmallacombebegananinvestigationintoTimberwolfslogharvestingoperationsonsuspicionthatthecompanywasdeliberatelyunderreportingthequalityandgradeofitsharvestedtimberinordertoreducethestumpagepayabletotheProvinceonthetimber.[8]Inthecourseoftheinvestigation,Mr.Smallacombeconductedinterviewswiththeoperatorsofthelogscalingcompanies.Timberwolfallegesinitsnoticeofcivilclaimthatinthecourseofthoseinterviews,SmallacombeabusedhisofficeandauthoritywithMOFRinthefollowingmanner:
 
a)heofferedcriminalimmunitytotheoperatorsofthelogscalingcompaniesfortheircooperationwhenhekneworoughttohaveknownhehadnoauthoritytooffersuchimmunity;
2012BCSC690TimberwolfLogTradingLtd.v.BritishColumbia(Forests,LandsandN...Page3of15
b)heseizedscaledocumentsandotherrecordswithoutlegalauthority;c)herefusedtoreturnscaledocumentswhenheknewTimberwolfwasrequiredbylawtokeepthemonsite;d)heseizedtimberwithoutlawfulauthority;e)hedeliberatelydelayedtherescalingoftimberknowingthatthedelaywouldpreventTimberwolffrommeetingproductionrequirements;
f)
heunlawfullyobtainedatelephonesearchwarrantpursuanttothe
CriminalCode
againstseveralcontractorswhenhekneworoughttohaveknownhehadnolegalstandingtodoso;andg)hesuggestedtopersonshewasinterviewingthatTimberwolfwasinvolvedinhighlevelcriminalactivityandweredangerous,whenheknewhehadnoreliableevidencetosupportsuchallegations.[9]TimberwolfallegesinitspleadingsthatSmallacombe'sinvestigativetacticsweredesignedtoinjureandharmTimberwolfsbusinessandreputation.[10]In2008,SmallacombereportedhisfindingstotheForestRevenueAuditProgram,or"FRAP,"whichcommencedanauditofTimberwolf.InApril2010,FRAPissuedanassessmentofnearly$3.5millionagainstTiniberwolfonthebasisthatithadmisreporteditsharvestingoftimber.TimberwolfappealedtotheMinister,whoupheldtheassessment.TimberwolfintendstoappealtheMinister'sdecisiontothisCourt.[11]InDecember2010,inarelatedproceeding,ajudgeofthisCourtaskedcounselforthedefendantstoensurethatcertainmaterialsrelatingtotheinvestigationbedisclosedtoMr.Good,theprincipalofBCLogInventoryServices,whohadbeeninterviewedbyMr.Smallacombe.Mr.GoodwasnotapartytotheproceedingbutappearedatthehearingandrequesteddisclosureoftheaudiotapedinterviewbetweenhimselfandMr.Smallacombe.[12]FollowingMr.Good'sappearance,counselforthedefendantsdisclosedtoMr.Goodtheaudiotapeoftheinterview.TheaudiotapedisclosedthatduringtheinterviewwithMr.Good,Mr.Smallacombesaidthefollowing:
Maybeit'snotaboutwoodatall.It'sonthesurpluslistas"X"and"I"andpassthesurplustestandgetsapprovedforexportandgoestothemajordrugtraffickingroutesinthe
5/16/2012

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