A series of guilty pleas at Alberta Provincial Court in Stettler on Thursday, Nov. 24 put to rest multiple wildlife charges against one of three allegedly involved individuals.
Michael Bellair appeared in court to plead guilty to charges stemming from the Nov. 7, 2014 illegal hunting incident.
The court was told that on that day, Michael Bellair trespassed on a property south of Stettler. While there, Bellair drove his vehicle on the property while Daniel Bellair, who did not appear in court, shot at a deer from the window of the truck.
After the deer was down, Michael Bellair used his own deer tag, which was not valid in the area in which the deer was shot, on the buck.
The 25-year-old man was 23 at the time of the incident, and cooperated during the investigation, voluntarily turning over the antlers harvested during the hunt.
While the charges to which Michael Bellair pleaded guilty could, at the maximum, net him fines of up to $50,000 and up to five years in jail, the Crown and prosecution together recommended that on the charge of hunting wildlife without a proper licence, Michael Bellair be fined $1,250, and on the charge of possession of wildlife/exotic trophy, he be fined $750. Both amounts do not include the victims of crime surcharge, and the antlers, which Michael Bellair surrendered, were seized.
As Michael Bellair is the sole provider for a common-law wife and their nine-month-old daughter, duty counsel requested that he be given time to pay, a request that W.A. Andreassen allowed.
The only time Michael Bellair spoke for himself, it was to reaffirm that he was cooperative with the investigation, voluntarily providing information, the antlers and details.
Judge Andreassen said that Michael Bellair’s cooperation with the investigation, the surrendered antlers, and his guilty plea at the earliest of opportunities were all factors of the lessened sentence.
The two other individuals involved in the incident, Martell and Daniel Bellair, had their matters put over to the future court dates of Dec. 22 and Jan. 26 respectively.
Martell requested additional time to hire a lawyer, and Daniel Bellair, who was represented by duty counsel but not present, requested time to acquire a lawyer and be in Stettler, as work has him elsewhere.