Final arguments made in moose-vehicle collision class action

Daniel MacEachern
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Lawyers renewed their criticisms of an expert witness during closing arguments Tuesday in a class-action suit against the provincial government over moose-vehicle collisions.

Ches Crosbie.

Tony Clevenger, an Alberta-based wildlife ecologist, testified in April the government was using ineffective measures to prevent drivers from hitting moose, and stood by his report even after admitting under cross-examinations that his report contained errors and speculation.

As both sides presented their final arguments in Supreme Court in St. John’s Tuesday, government lawyer David Rodgers called Clevenger’s report “advocacy disguised as science,” and said his conclusions were tailored to help the plaintiffs’ case.

Plaintiff lawyers Ches Crosbie and Jessica Dellow argued the provincial government, in introducing the non-native animal to Newfoundland and Labrador more than a century ago, is liable for the hundreds of collisions that happen every year, which they argue outweigh any benefits the province receives from the moose population.

“It’s being done for the benefit of the outfitting industry, perhaps, and the few hunters who would obtain a licence and hunt a moose,” said Dellow.

By undertaking measures to help mitigate collisions — public awareness campaigns, brush-clearing and highway signage — the province acknowledges its responsibility to prevent collisions, argued plaintiffs’ counsel.

That’s not so, said the government’s lawyer.

Rodgers said the province is no more liable for a moose-vehicle collision than it is for a collision between two motorists.

“We do not own the moose. We don’t control the moose’s movement,” said Rodgers.

Justice Robert Stack said he’d render a decision as quickly as possible.


Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Supreme Court

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Brian
    May 28, 2014 - 19:01

    Mr. Rodgers would be singing a different tune if he or one of his relatives were badly injured in a moose vehicle accident. Apparently, the men who brought the first moose to Howley were paid $50 each -by the Newfoundland government.

  • guy incognito
    May 28, 2014 - 07:02

    Good old Ches and his class action lawsuits. His precious.

  • Cashin Delaney
    May 27, 2014 - 21:58

    Some exerpts from English psychologist Nick Humphrey's 2002 essay, Bugs and Beasts Before the Law: "as today, when things are unexplained, we expect the institutions of science to put the facts on trial, one can see the whole purpose of the legal actions as being to establish cognitive control. In other words, the job of the courts was to domesticate chaos, to impose order on a world of accidents — and specifically to make sense of certain seemingly inexplicable events by redefining them as crimes" "In 1587, a gang of weevils, accused of damaging a vineyard, were deemed to have been exercising their natural rights to eat – and, in compensation, were granted a vineyard of their own. In 1457 a sow was convicted of murder and sentenced to be “hanged by the hind feet from a gallows tree”. Her six piglets, being found stained with blood, were included in the indictment as accomplices. But no evidence was offered against them, and on account of their tender age they were acquitted. In 1750 a man and a she-ass were taken together in an act of buggery. The prosecution asked for the death sentence for both of them. After due process of law the man was sentenced, but the animal was let off on the ground that she was the victim of violence and had not participated in her master’s crime of her own free-will. The local priest gave evidence that he had known the said she-ass for four years, that she had always shown herself to be virtuous and well-behaved, that she had never given occasion of scandal to anyone, and that therefore he was “willing to bear witness that she is in word and deed and in all her habits of life a most honest creature.”"