As mentioned last week, we won a rare non-suit motion in the Ontario Court of Justice on three counts, each against three defendants charged with improperly managing hazardous waste at a transfer site, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act. In each case, the Ministry of the Environment inspector had accused the company of committing offences, without properly investigating whether this was true.
For example, he accused them of storing “hazardous waste” in a non-hazardous waste area. The alleged “hazardous waste” was actually an empty tote, with a small amount of H waste residue in the bottom. Under Regulation 347, such a container is defined to be an “empty container”, if it has less than 2.5 cm of residue. Empty containers are specifically excluded from the definition of “hazardous waste”. The inspector did not bother to check the depth of the residue before accusing the defendants of breaking the law. The following year, the same inspector again accused the company of hazardous waste offences, again without checking to see whether there was anything in the containers. The third charge related to wastes that were clearly stored exactly where the certificate required them to be. Here is Justice Mackey’s ruling: Lacombe non-suit.
Eight other charges proceeded to trial, on the grounds that the Crown had raised some evidence, no matter how manifestly unreliable, which should be weighed at the end of the trial.
We hope to finish this very long trial next month, and look forward to reporting on the result.