Accused civil servant in New Brunswick obstruction trial wraps up testimony

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FREDERICTON - A civil servant accused of interfering in an aquaculture investigation involving the brother of New Brunswick's deputy premier has completed his testimony.

Peter Andrews, the director of corporate services for the province's Aquaculture Department, has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice.

The Crown asked Andrews why a subordinate wrote an email to him suggesting there was political interference in the case of Donat Robichaud — the brother of deputy premier Paul Robichaud — and that there was to be no charge laid against him.

Andrews says he didn't know why Wilbert Sabine, the head of aquaculture enforcement, interpreted a conversation they had in that way.

Andrews has testified that a decision was made by senior staff to hold off on laying a charge while staff explored the options of revoking Robichaud's oyster licence or lease.

Despite the directive to hold off, an enforcement officer laid the charge anyway in December 2011.

Robichaud eventually pleaded guilty to practising aquaculture outside the boundary of his lease and paid a fine of $576.

Closing arguments are expected later today.

Geographic location: New Brunswick, FREDERICTON

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