The judge in the David Sillars trial has ruled that a canoe is a vessel.

The Huntsville Forester is reporting Justice Peter West revealed his decision today in an Oshawa courtroom.

Sillars is on trial for the drowning death of eight-year-old Thomas Rancourt of Huntsville. Rancourt died last spring in Bracebridge when the canoe he and Sillars were on capsized.

Sillars has pleaded not guilty to four charges: impaired operation of a vessel causing death, criminal negligence causing death, dangerous operation of a vessel causing death, and operating a vessel with a blood-alcohol level over 80 milligrams causing death.

Justice West had to decide whether or not a canoe was a vessel because the definition of the word isn’t in the Criminal Code. It does, however, appear in the Canada Shipping Act. Both the defence and the Crown presented their arguments last week as to whether a canoe was, or was not a vessel.

If Justice West had ruled that a canoe is not a vessel three of the charges against Sillars would have been dismissed. The trial gets back underway on Monday.