Court Declares Seal Hunt Observers Innocent



    ILES DE LA MADELEINE, Canada, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today,
Judge Jean-Paul Decoste declared the defendants in the case against five seal
hunt observers innocent. This verdict has been anticipated by The Humane
Society of the United States and Humane Society International since the case
first began in October 2007.
    

    
    "The evidence showed without a doubt that my clients were innocent and I
thank Judge Decoste for seeing through the Crown's illogical arguments to the
contrary and finding them innocent," said Clayton Ruby, lawyer for the
accused.
    

    
    The defendants -- Canadians Rebecca Aldworth and Andrew Plumbly,
Americans Chad Sisneros and Pierre Grzybowski and British citizen Mark Glover
-- are all representatives of The HSUS and HSI.
    

    
    In March of 2006, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Department of
Fisheries and Oceans Officer Jean-Francois Sylvestre charged the five
defendants with violating a condition of their observation licenses that
requires they remain at least 10 meters from sealing activity. The defendants
were in the Gulf of St. Lawrence documenting the commercial seal hunt to bring
to the world the shocking images of baby seals being clubbed, shot and even
skinned alive.
    

    
    The defense case rested heavily on the video records of four separate
parties: a Canadian government ship, an independent reporter and two of the
accused. These videos scientifically showed that the defendants were at least
19.6 meters from sealing activity at the time of the incident. Judge Decoste
refused to hear the experts who were called by the defense, but nonetheless
found, after viewing the tapes himself, that the Crown case had not been
proved.
    

    
    "This was not only a victory for my clients but for the entire Canadian
justice system," continued Ruby. "Today's ruling proves what we have been
saying all along. These charges should never have been brought in the first
place. These charges were no more than an attempt to silence us: a conviction
would certainly have been followed by refusal of Observation Permits by the
Minister of Fisheries. Our presence documenting this cruel hunt of baby seals
keeps the pressure of world criticism on Canada and enables us to urge the
rest of the world to refuse seal products."
    

    
    The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal
protection organization -- backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every
30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the
protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs.
Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the web at
humanesociety.org.
    



    




For further information:

For further information: Kristen Everett of Humane Society of the U.S.,
+1-301-721-6440, keverett@humanesociety.org  Web Site:
http://www.humanesociety.org

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