ROCKY HARBOUR — A longtime resident of a community within Gros Morne National Park has been convicted of four offences contrary to the Canada National Parks Act.
Provincial court Judge Wayne Gorman recently found John Decker guilty following a hearing in Rocky Harbour in August.
Decker, who has lived within the area encompassed by the UNESCO World Heritage Site for 50 years, operated an all-terrain vehicle and a pick-up truck within the park boundaries, while not on a road and without a permit or approval. He did so on July 27 and Aug. 29 of 2012. He also removed driftwood from a beach in the park.
Decker was caught on a motion detecting camera near the beach at Bakers Brook.
According to a written decision from Gorman, during testimony Decker conceded to committing the offences. He did not attempt to present evidence that he acted with all due diligence to avoid having done so or that he acted pursuant to a mistake of Act.
Decker’s position was the charges were unfair based upon his longstanding residence within the park. He also presented a letter — dated after the offence dates — he received from the park superintendent allowing him to operate vehicles within the boundaries in order to retrieve fishing gear that was washed ashore.
Gorman decided the letter did not provide an excuse or justification for Decker’s earlier actions.