Elections and pleas are next with respect to charges against Husky Oil Operations Ltd. regarding the 2016 North Saskatchewan River oil spill.
Case management has wrapped up in the case at North Battleford court house Tuesday, and matters have been adjourned to June 12, 9:30 a.m., in provincial court in Lloydminster. Judge Lorna Dyck has stated that the June 12 date is peremptory for federal Crown election on the federal charges, and peremptory for pleas on the federal and provincial charges -- in other words, pleas must happen at that time.
It is also determined there will be no further case management conferences in the case. Lawyers for Husky and the federal and provincial Crown held their latest case discussions with Judge Dyck behind closed doors on Tuesday. Those lasted until 3:30 pm at which time they reconvened in open court to set the next court date.
Husky faces nine federal counts: those include one of allowing the deposit of a deleterious substance, crude oil, under s.40(2) of the Fisheries Act, seven counts of not taking reasonable measures to prevent the deposit of a deleterious substance under s. 40 (3)(e) of the Fisheries Act, and one count of permitting a substance harmful to migratory birds under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. They also face a provincial charge under the Environmental Management and Protection Act.
It is still unclear whether the Husky case will be resolved or whether a trial will be scheduled.
"That's what we'll determine in June as to what is going to happen," said provincial Crown prosecutor Matthew Miazga to reporters outside the court house Tuesday.
"Until that day comes you never know for sure what's going to happen, but I think it's the goal of everybody, it's the hope of everybody, that the case will be resolved without a trial. But we won't know that for sure until June 12."
Even though case management sessions are now over, Miazga expects further discussions with defence counsel between now and the next court date.
"There's always things to talk about. Again, just because the judge isn't involved doesn't mean there won't be discussions with counsel about the case and I expect there will be," said Miazga.