Tessmer Law does not traditionally support political parties but rather supports particular policies that better humanity. We support the decriminalization of marihuana. It makes no sense that alcohol and tobacco are legal but you can get a criminal record for possession of marijuana (if you don’t have license for medical marihuana). More violent and dangerous crime is related to alcohol than anything else and the health costs associated with alcohol and tobacco are well known. Further, the law against pot is bad for democracy and the rule of law. Bad laws invite disrespect for the law and create an opportunity for organized and unorganized criminal groups to profit. So Tessmer Law supports Justin Trudeau in his efforts to decriminalize cannabis possession. Its time we voted on this issue!
This morning the Federal Crown prosecutor dropped marijuana production & possession for the purpose of trafficking charges against a client of Tessmer Law.
While the crown doesn’t have to specify the precise reason charges are dropped, we believe the decision was made because the police violated several constitutional rights in obtaining the evidence including subjecting the defendant to a strip search……
Note: A strip search is only justified if the the police if the police have reasonable grounds to believe a detainee has hidden evidence or a weapon under their clothes.
* If you have been subjected to an indignity you should get in touch with us, we may be able to use this to help you in your case *
DRUG SNIFFER DOG SEARCHES approved of again by the Supreme Court of Canada. In two decisions released on Thursday, the Court has allowed the use of drug dogs to conduct searches in the absence of consent or search warrant.
A tale of two cases…
In Regina v Chehil, the Court allowed drug dogs in restricted areas of the Halifax airport to do a sniff search on a traveller’s bags, finding 3 kilos of cocaine in the subsequent search, after the dog indicated the smell of narcotics.
In Regina v McKenzie the Court authorized the use of the drug dog, after a traffic detention between Calgary and Regina, who located several pounds of marihuana.
In both cases the Court authorized both the sniff search, and the subsequent arrest based on the positive indication by the drug dog.
The Supreme Court has authorized the use of the sniffer dogs, in cases where there is a lesser expectation of privacy, ie. airports, automobiles, if a police officer has a ‘reasonable suspicion’ of a criminal offense – in these cases, drug possession. To arrest someone there must be reasonable and probable grounds to believe they have committed a crime.
The Court reiterated that the test for a reasonable suspicion is based on a constellation of objectively verifiable facts. In particular, the police only need facts supporting a ‘possibility’ of a crime. Would be drug traffickers should know that one way tickets on Westjet, paid for last minute with cash, can amount to, and did amount to reasonable grounds for a drug sniff search in the case of CHEHIL. Further, even though the dog indicated the presence of drugs in another piece of luggage, (a cooler) where none was found, the Court still found that the subsequent arrest of the defendant was based on ‘reasonable and probable grounds’, and was therefore lawful.
In McKenzie, the sniff search was based on the fact that the defendant had quickly slowed down his car when being monitored for speeding, and parked the car on the side of the road before being pulled over by the police; he exhibited extreme nervousness, had pink eyes, and jerky hand movements, and changed his story about his travel between Calgary and Regina. Surprisingly, the officer testified that Calgary was a source of drugs and Regina a destination for same. The defendant had been acquitted because the trial judge found a lack of reasonable suspicion for the drug dog search, but the Supreme Court found in split decision that he did not give proper weight to the officer’s training and experience, which led to the officer’s opinion.
In short, if an officer can justify his opinion based on his experience and training, the Courts are bound to consider that in determining whether there is a ‘reasonable suspicion’ to justify the dog sniff search.
Both cases left upon the possibility that if there had been better and more probing cross – examination, of the officer’s conclusions, and the dogs training, the results may have been different.
Judge Klinger ruled in a grow op case that all evidence had to be excluded, and the defendant was therefore acquitted.
What happened you ask……
The judge ruled in R v Mitchell that the police violated his rights to privacy by searching his house outside of Kelowna in the Ellison area, the warrant authorized a search in Kelowna. The police also failed to serve the warrant on him as required by the criminal code, the police trespassed on his property while taking a FLIR (forward looking infrared ) image (this picks up a heat signature from the house) . In addition the police searched for a hydro bypass as well, when the warrant didn’t authorize it!! All evidence was therefore excluded.
In addition the federal government had taken steps to have his house forfeited if he was convicted, so he was a very happy man in the end. Home run for Tessmer Law
A big drug importing case has just paused for a summer break. It is the matter of a conspiracy to import and traffic 100 kg of cocaine in a fruit crusher from Argentina. It is being heard in front of Madam Justice Beames, and the past couple of weeks have been more than interesting….
The Crown allowed to amend/lengthen the duration of the alleged conspiracy from 10 days which was on the original indictment and contemplated since the case began almost three years to increase it to a four month conspiracy to import. The amendment would and has extended the time frame for this alleged conspiracy by over 100 days. Madam Justice Beames has allowed the amendment, which causes new challenges for the accused in relation to the prejudice to their case and the strategies which they have been working with since the beginning. Relevancy of evidence, and its admissibility will also become hugely important.
The case is before the courts again in August.