Decision next month in case of man charged with unlawfully killing polar bear 


A judge is expected to make a decision next month in the case of a 30-year-old man accused of unlawfully killing a polar bear north of Inuvik last summer.

Justin Noah Elias, 30, took the matter to trial in June after pleading not guilty to two charges under the territory’s Wildlife Act.

It’s alleged that between late August and early September 2018, Elias “hunted a polar bear in the Southern Beaufort Sea (ISR) Polar Bear Management Area  I/PB/03 without a tag contrary to (section) 3 of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee Regulations,” court documents show.

A 30-year-old man is charged under the NWT Wildlife Act after a polar bear was killed near Garry Island last summer.
Google Maps.
June 7, 2019.

He’s also charged with possessing “a dead polar bear that was unlawfully harvested.”

The killing of the polar bear happened on Garry Island, about 150 kilometres northwest of Inuvik. Elias wasn’t charged until January of this year.

At trial in Inuvik, Elias’ lawyer argued it was necessary to kill the polar bear, essentially mounting a self-defence claim.

Elias himself testified, while another man who with the accused during the incident, was called to testify by the prosecution.

A decision is expected to be handed down on Aug. 26.

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As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility to be there - day or night, rain or shine. When I’m not at court gathering stories, I’m in the office, making calls to lawyers, emailing RCMP and tracking down sources. After hours, I rely on the public to let me know what’s happening and where. Entering my second winter in Yellowknife since leaving my hometown of Peterborough, Ont., in October 2017, everyday on this beat continues to be challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. Got a story? Call me at (867) 766-8288 or shoot me an email at