The private prosecution of De Beers Canada Inc is moving forward to trial. The prosecution is brought by Trevor Hesselink, a private citizen, rather than by government. It alleges that De Beers committed an offence under Ontario environmental law by failing to report on levels of mercury in the watershed surrounding its Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario. De Beers attempted to have the case thrown out before trial but the court dismissed this motion in its entirety.
This decision is an important vindication of a citizen’s right to bring a private prosecution where they believe environmental law has been violated. It clears the way for the charges to be tried on their merits in the near future.