The RCMP say that no charges will be laid in connection to the poisoning of 28 large trees in Mill Bay two years ago. The property owners had to remove five of the trees (pictured) earlier this month for safety reasons. (Submitted)

The RCMP say that no charges will be laid in connection to the poisoning of 28 large trees in Mill Bay two years ago. The property owners had to remove five of the trees (pictured) earlier this month for safety reasons. (Submitted)

No charges tree poisoning in Mill Bay as investigation ends, leaving owner unsatisified

Trees in Mill Bay poisoned two years ago

There will be no charges laid in the case of the poisoned trees in Mill Bay.

A statement from the RCMP says that the case of the poisoning of the 28 large trees on waterfront land in Mill Bay almost two years ago was concluded before Christmas after a thorough investigation, and that no charges were laid.

“Although the complainant may have suspicions on who caused the deaths of the trees, without witnesses or conclusive evidence, the Crown would not approve a charge on this investigation,” the statement said.

When the poisoning was discovered in March, 2019, each of the trees had numerous holes drilled in them, and an herbicide or poison was put into the holes which caused the deaths of the trees within five to seven weeks.

RELATED STORY: STILL NO CHARGES OVER POISONING OF TREES IN MILL BAY

The Shawnigan Lake RCMP detachment, which is in charge of the investigation, sent out a press release in September, 2019, asking for help in the investigation.

“The loss of these trees has negatively impacted the owner of the property,” said the police at the time.

“The property owner now faces a significant cost to have the trees removed before they fall over and damage neighbouring properties. There is also the added environmental impact due to the loss of the tall mature trees.”

Jim Cuthbert, whose family owns the large private seaside property on Mill Bay Road where the trees were poisoned, said he’s not surprised that charges have not been laid in the case, despite the fact that he believes there are just a few suspects that the police should have focused on.

RELATED STORY: POLICE INVESTIGATE TREE POISONING IN MILL BAY

“It’s quite clear how Canadian law works,” he said.

“Unless there’s clear evidence or someone admits to the crime, obviously there would be no charges laid. But the focus of the investigation should be on collecting evidence and it should persist until evidence is found from which charges could be laid, a witness is found, or the person responsible finds he can’t live with himself and turns himself in.”

Cuthbert said that, although the RCMP are saying the case is closed, it was closed two times before but reopened after new evidence came to light, and he believes it will be reopened again.

In the meantime, five of the dead trees have had to be taken down for safety reasons earlier this month, and the fate of the rest of the dead trees has yet to be determined.

“It’s shocking,” Cuthbert said.

“The property looks very different, and the neighbours are also very upset about what has happened.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Crime

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

Just Posted

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

The CVRD introduces new app to contact residents during emergencies, a tool that chairman Aaron Stone says will improve communications. (File photo)
CVRD launches new app to spread information during emergencies

Cowichan Alert is a free app that can be downloaded onto smartphones, computers

The Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors in July 2021. (Malahat SkyWalk photo)
Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors this July

Highly anticipated attraction will take guests 250m above sea level

FILE PHOTO
Editorial: Time to roll up our sleeves and pitch in

They’re just not quite sure they want to get a vaccine — yet

Brian Thacker, owner of Cowichan Bay’s Pacific Industrial & Marine, is disappointed the province didn’t provide funding for a proposal from PIM, in partnership with the Cowichan Tribes, to remove derelict boats from local waters. (File photo)
Application for funding to remove derelict vessels in Cowichan area fails

Province announced $4.5 million for new program on April 28

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police photo of suspected cat thief was just a woman with her own cat

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hospital investigating whether Alberta woman who died after AstraZeneca shot was turned away

Woman was taken off life support 12 days after getting vaccine

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports first vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

Allayah Yoli Thomas had recently turned 12 years old when she died of a suspected drug overdose April 15. (Courtesy of Adriana Londono)
Suspected overdose death of Vancouver Island 12 year old speaks to lack of supports

Allayah Yoli Thomas was found dead by her friend the morning of April 15

Most Read