Provincial Court of Nova Scotia R. v. David Denny, Lawerence John Paul and Thomas Frank Sylliboy (S.C.C. No. 01965 - No. 01966 - No. 01983) March 5, 1990
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These appeals involve the aboriginal and treaty rights of Nova Scotia Micmac Indians to fish for food. The appellants are three Nova Scotia Micmac Indians who were convicted of offences contrary to the Fisheries Act and regulations made pursuant to the Act.
The Judge ruled that the appeals be allowed, quash their convictions and entered verdicts of acquittal due to the following:
The appellants have an existing aboriginal right to fish for food in the subject waters in these appeals.
Due to Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the appellants have the right to an allocation of any surplus of the fisheries resource which may exist after the needs of conservation have been taken into account. This right is subject to reasonable regulation of the resource in a manner that recognizes and is consistent with the appellants' guaranteed constitutional rights.
Based upon the appellants' aboriginal right to fish for food and the protection afforded by s. 35 (1) of the Constitution Act, 1982, the three appellants enjoy a limited immunity from prosecution under the provisions of the Fisheries Act and Regulations. To the extent that the provisions under which they have been charged are inconsistent with the constitutional rights of the appellants, s. 52 of the Constitution Act renders them of no force and effect.