A judge has postponed the court case against Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner that sees him facing five charges related to a grizzly bear hunt in 2013, according to the National Observer.
In his native province of British Columbia, Stoner was photographed hold a bear’s head, an act that has drawn loads of criticism from conservationists and local activists. It’s also provoked some scorn from investigators, who believe that his hunting permit wasn’t valid for a number of reasons including that he made a false statement to obtain a license.
Activists welcome the delay, as they view the case as an opportunity to highlight Canada’s “permitting of the controversial sport killing of grizzlies.”
Bears Matter founder Barb Murray told the National Observer, “If Mr. Stoner wants to [delay this] for the next two years until the next provincial election, be my guest.”
Murray has called for Stoner to issue an apology for trophy-hunting grizzlies. “We need a huge apology, to First Nations who banned the trophy hunting, and now to the Canadian people,” Murray said.
Stoner hasn’t offered a statement on the situation, outside of stating, in 2013, “I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors.”
The National Observer sums up the charges:
“At the time, Mr. Stoner was playing for the Minnesota Wild hockey team,” said Inspector Cynthia Mann of the Major Investigations Unit of the Conservation Officer Services last month. “Mr. Stoner’s primary residence had to be in B.C., and he had to be physically resident for six of the 12 months preceding the grizzly hunt in May 2013.”
The Crown is now charging Stoner with: hunting without a licence, hunting out of season, two counts of knowingly making a false statement to obtain a licence and unlawful possession of dead wildlife. The maximum penalties are 250,000 and two-year prison terms. [sic]
Stoner’s court date has been reset for November 13. ESPN reports that a lawyer appearing in court on his behalf is unsure how Stoner will plead.