A worker employed by a Chilliwack-based agricultural employer seen throwing a chicken in an undercover video in 2017 filmed by California-base animal rights activists Mercy For Animals.

Pre-trial conference held in Fraser Valley chicken catching abuse case

Sofina Foods and Chilliwack company face jury trial in connection with 2017 undercover video

Defendants in the Fraser Valley undercover chicken catching abuse case were in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Thursday.

The appearance scheduled for Chilliwack-based Elite Farm Services Ltd., the company’s owner Dwayne Paul Dueck, and Ontario-based Sofina Foods was for a pre-trial conference in advance of a jury trial in the fall.

After several delays, the defendants elected trial by judge and jury in front of provincial court Judge Gary Cohen back in August 2019.

• READ MORE: Trial by jury for defendants in Chilliwack chicken catching abuse case

• READ MORE: Undercover video uncertainty delays start of trial for Fraser Valley chicken abuse

The charges date from 2017 when California-based animal rights activist group Mercy For Animals released undercover video filmed at multiple Fraser Valley farms showing employees ripping live birds apart, stomping and throwing chickens.

Specifically, the charges relate to incidents in Chilliwack, Lindell Beach, Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Langley and Surrey.

More than a year later Elite, Dueck and Sofina were each charged with 38 counts under the Health of Animal Regulations in connection with the alleged abuse. Employees were fired, the companies expressed dismay at the actions of those employees, and the BC Chicken Marketing Board expressed disgust at the practices seen in the video.

The video is the crux of the case and has been the source of numerous delays as defence counsel said they were uncertain they had received unedited video. This led to arraignment delays as the accused said it could change whether they wanted to be tried by judge alone or judge and jury.

At the July 30, 2019 appearance, the issue was made clear that if the video evidence was manipulated, then defence would likely want the case heard in front of a jury. If an expert who examines the video evidence determined no editing had been done in ways beyond already admitted, then the case would be simpler and better suited in front of judge alone.

All along Judge Cohen expressed concern about the delays, particularly as it relates to the Supreme Court of Canada’s Jordan decision that mandates trials in provincial court need to be resolved in 18 months, and 30 months in Supreme.

Cohen essentially forced them to arraign on August 28, 2019 or he said he would make an election for them.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SLIDESHOW: Chilliwack firefighters battle large blaze at Rosedale chicken barn Friday

Birds were saved but the buildings on Castleman Road were destroyed by fire

Chilliwack Fair kicks off tonight with local talent

Todd Richard and Appaloosa to hit the stage for drive-in concert at fairgrounds

PHOTOS: Moving day for 110-year-old Chilliwack heritage house

House-moving company relocated Hope River Road home to Riverside Drive

UPDATE w/ PHOTOS: Chilliwack fire crews tackle vacant house fire on Rowat Avenue Friday

Empty house was boarded up and behind fencing on lots slated for redevelopment

VIDEO: Chilliwack chicken barn destroyed by fire

Chickens saved from blaze as firefighters work to control large fire

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Plainclothes Abbotsford police officer deletes cellphone video after drawing gun on innocent man

‘They never asked me what I was doing there, strictly came out with guns, threatening to shoot me’

Most Read