Richard Hager of Pelly Crossing, accused of running one of the busiest bootlegging operations in the community, did not oppose an application in court July 13 to shut down his enterprise. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Court hears petition to shut down alleged Pelly Crossing bootlegger

Richard Hager did not oppose the application in court July 13

A Pelly Crossing man accused of running one of the busiest bootlegging operations in the community did not oppose an application in court July 13 to shut down his enterprise.

Richard Hager appeared briefly in the gallery of the Whitehorse courtroom where Yukon Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Duncan was scheduled to hear a petition filed by the Yukon’s director of public safety and investigations in June. However, he left before the hearing began, with his lawyer telling the Crown Hager did not wish to present any arguments.

That left Crown attorney Kelly McGill to lay out the director’s case for an order to shut down the illegal sale of alcohol at Hager’s home, and to allow for authorities to monitor for compliance, uncontested.

It was the fourth time in the history of the Yukon’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) legislation that the director has gone to court to seek an enforcement order.

McGill noted it was Selkirk First Nation, not Hager, that was named as the respondent to the petition since it owns the house in Jon Ra Subdivision that Hager has lived in for the past 14 years.

The First Nation worked with the (SCAN) unit on the case and supports the court action, she said, but doesn’t wish to displace Hager, which is among the reasons why the director didn’t ask, as it has in the past, for the order to require that the property be vacated.

However, Selkirk First Nation does have a “real concern” about the issue of bootlegging in the community and wants to bring attention to it, McGill said, and the order that is being requested shows a “measured approach” to the situation.

Should Hager not comply with the order, McGill said that charges could be laid against him under the Liquor Act. The director could also return to court to seek an outright closure of the property.

McGill described bootlegging as an “insidious” activity, one that’s hard to collect evidence about due to the fact that, like drug dealing, it exists because there’s a demand for the service.

Adding to the challenge in this case, McGill said, was the fact that Pelly Crossing is a small community, making it difficult for investigators to do covert surveillance.

However, she noted that unlike in other SCAN cases, the complainants did not chose to remain anonymous, with one of them, a community safety officer for Selkirk First Nation, even providing evidence on the bootlegging and bringing forward concerns from other community members.

The community evidence was also corroborated with evidence from liquor stores or off-sales in Whitehorse, Mayo and Carmacks, McGill said, whose staff had reported Hager buying large quantities of vodka.

The bootlegging, McGill noted, wasn’t a “one-off” situation, but an ongoing activity that she argued was negatively impacting the community. The alcohol, she said, was being sold at an “exorbitant” price, thereby exploiting vulnerable people, and the evidence also includes text messages asking Hager not to sell to certain community members because of their behaviour when intoxicated.

The effects of the bootlegging, McGill said, are being felt by the whole community.

Duncan is expected to give her decision on July 17.

Contact Jackie Hong at

Yukon courtsYukon justice department

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Yukon Conservation Society hires new executive director

Coral Voss brings background in administration and enviromental work

Moose a relatively new species to the Yukon, study finds

DNA and carbon-dating suggest that moose only entered North America about 15,000 years ago

Canada Games Centre readies for skaters, swimmers

Second phase of rec centre reopening starts Aug. 3

Pedalling the Yukon’s lakes

Water bikes come north

CYFN, YG launch awareness campaign after drop in calls to family and children’s services

Officials say there’s concern COVID-19 measures have isolated children from people providing oversight

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week. Tennis… Continue reading

Cancan show to return to Gerties

The Klondike Visitors Association announced in a press release on July 29… Continue reading

Air North named best airline

Tripadvisor named Air North the Travellers’ Choice Best Airline in Canada 2020… Continue reading

Community banking services to move to CIBC

A number of Yukon communities will see changes in banking this fall… Continue reading

Majority of Yukon businesses don’t have employees working remotely during COVID-19, survey says

Less than a third of businesses have any portion of their workforce working remotely

More than a dozen speak out on zoning change

Nearly all express support for Pelly Construction’s plans

City accepts funding to address homelessness

$46,000 will go towards 100 Homes campaign

2020 Yukon Energy Road Cycling Championships bring plenty of competitive spirit

The U15 boys GC came down to a sprint to the finish of the final stage

Most Read