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Tofino man released from jail to appeal conviction for killing mother bear and cub

A black bear and a cub are seen in this undated stock image. (Shutterstock) A black bear and a cub are seen in this undated stock image. (Shutterstock)
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A wildlife guide who was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay $11,000 in fines for killing a black bear and her cub in Tofino, B.C., has been released on bail while he appeals his conviction and sentence.

Ryan Owen Millar was found guilty of one count of killing a black bear outside of hunting season, and one count of killing a black bear younger than two years old.

At his sentencing last month, a provincial court judge also ordered Millar to surrender the longbow and crossbow he used in the killings, and prohibited him from hunting or possessing weapons for 20 years.

Millar filed an appeal of his conviction and sentence on Nov. 10, and applied for release from custody pending the appeal decision on Nov. 16.

The court granted the appeal, releasing Millar from custody on a $2,500 cash bail, according to the B.C. Prosecution Service.

Millar was convicted after a three-day trial in June, in which a witness testified that he and his wife were in their Tofino vacation rental when they saw Millar shoot the bears out of a tree on the neighbouring property.

The witness said he recorded video of Millar hiding the carcass of the younger bear under a tarp before the couple left the rental property because they did not feel safe.

Millar initially denied killing the bears when questioned by police and conservation officers before eventually relaying contrasting stories of encountering a bear that charged at him before he defended himself.

The judge ultimately found Millar's version of events was "fabricated," noting there was "absolutely no attempt to minimize the harm caused."

"Millar simply wanted to kill the two bears, and that is what he did," the judge wrote in his trial decision.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service issued a statement following the sentencing, calling it a "precedent-setting case for the unlawful killing of a black bear sow and cub."

Millar is expected to appear in Nanaimo provincial court on Dec. 11 to set a date for the appeal.

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