Three Coquitlam residents that were arrested for allegedly obstructing conservation officers searching for a family of bears will not face charges, according to the BC Prosecution Service.
The three neighbours were arrested after they were accused of obstructing B.C. conservation officers who were searching for a family of bears in their neighbourhood in July 2019. Officers said at the time that the bears were heavily habituated and "food-conditioned." The bear and her two cubs were euthanized, and at the time, the BC Conservation Officer Service told CTV News in an email that the residents were "actively interfering with officers and would not comply with the direction of officers."
The prosecution service said in an emailed statement on Friday that it never approved any charges in the case.
"In October of last year, the BCPS received a Report to Crown Counsel (RCC) regarding a wildlife incident that occurred in Coquitlam on July 30, 2019," the statement said. "After a thorough review of the evidence and file materials submitted the BCPS has concluded that the charge assessment standard has not been met and no charges have been approved."
In order for criminal charges to be approved, the BCPS said it applies a two-part test. First, there needs to be a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the investigating agency. Second, the public interest must "require a prosecution", according to the BCPS.
At the time of the incident, one of the residents said she was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car.
"I walked out in my yard, and there was a conservation officer in my yard with a shotgun. I said to him, 'Get off my property.' Like, what are you doing?" resident Susan Flint said. She said she saw other officers at the scene and began yelling at them not to shoot the mother bear and cubs. She was arrested shortly after.
Tony Faccin, another local resident who lives across the street from Flint, was also arrested.
The residents also had their phones and video they took of the incident seized. The conservation service said in July that all appropriate protocols were followed when their phones were confiscated.