Yukon miner Tony Beets and Tamarack Inc. were handed a $31,000 fine for an incident where two men Beets was working with poured gasoline on a pond and lit it on fire. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Gold Rush star Tony Beets to appeal pond fire fines

The Yukon miner will appeal the $31k in fines he and his company are facing for Water Act violations

Reality television star Tony Beets and his mining company Tamarack Inc. will be back in court next spring to try and reduce the $31,000 in fines they face for violating the Yukon Waters Act.

Beets and Tamarack Inc. were fined by territorial court judge Peter Chisholm in August after being found guilty of permitting the deposit of waste into a water management area. They were also convicted of failing to report it after one of Beets’s subcontractors poured about a gallon of gasoline into a dredge pond in 2014 and another employee set it on fire. The actions were caught on camera and aired as part of the Discovery Channel’s popular television series, Gold Rush.

Tamarack Inc. was also found guilty of two counts of failing to comply with the conditions of its water licence in relation to the incident.

Both Beets and Tamarack Inc. had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Beets’s lawyer, André Roothman, was in court Oct. 17 to set a date for the appeal hearing.

A notice of appeal, originally filed Sept. 20, argues that Chisholm “erred” in finding that Tamarack Inc. allowed waste to be deposited into the water and violated the conditions of its water licence. It also argues that Chisholm failed to apply the rule against multiple convictions for the same incident by finding Tamarack Inc. guilty of violating its water licence on top of allowing waste to be deposited and failing to report it. As a remedy, the appeal asks for the convictions on permitting the deposit of waste into the water, for which Tamarack Inc. was fined $10,000, and the two convictions of violating its water licence, for which the company was fined $5,000 each, to be set aside.

As well, the appeal argues that “the fines are unduly harsh and disproportionate to the minor nature of the offence.” It asks for the fines to be set aside and substituted with “lesser fines that (reflect) the minor nature of the offences.”

The appeal hearing is scheduled for April 5, 2018.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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