Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking, Prohibited Weapons
R. v. E.H.
– trafficking charges reduced, weapons charges dropped
EH was pulled over because of a burnt-out headlight. Police noted his eyes were red and his pupils large. They asked him to step out of the car for a sobriety check. When he did so, police noticed he was wearing a knife necklace. Describing it as a “brass knuckle push dagger,” police arrested him for prohibited weapon. Police then asked him if he had taken any drugs. When he admitted to smoking crack and pot he was arrested also for impaired driving.
In a search of the car and the passengers, police found 17 grams of marijuana, three grams of crystal meth, 27 methylphenidate capsules, debt lists, eight cell phones including an iPhone, various knives, four digital scales, a computer, GPS and cash. EH’s phone had text messages that discussed marijuana sales. Police charged EH with Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (Marijuana, Methamphetamine, and Methylphenidate) and Possession of a Prohibited Weapon (x3). EH had no prior record.
Initially the Crown said it would seek a jail sentence of six months on a guilty plea.
I attended at the police station and photographed the “brass knuckle push dagger.” At a judicial pretrial before setting a trial date, I showed the judge and Crown the photo. It was not a banned push knife because the handle was not perpendicular to the blade. Nor did it appear to be brass knuckles.
I said the arrest had therefore been without reasonable grounds. I added that the questioning about drug use prior to the arrest for impaired driving also was unlawful as police should not have asked EH questions before giving him his right to counsel on the weapon charge. And I pointed out that police had not laid an impaired driving charge which raised suspicions about the investigation.
RESULT: Crown agreed to accept a plea to simple possession of marijuana for a conditional discharge. It withdrew the other charges and, as a bonus, got police to return cash, the iPhone, computer, and GPS.
Possession of Heroin and Marijuana
R. v. M.G.
M.G. was stopped for speeding. When the investigating officer said he smelled marijuana in the car, M.G. turned over a joint. Arrest for possession of marijuana followed, then a search. A small bit of heroin was found in his wallet. M.G. was charged with possession of heroin and marijuana not to mention speeding.
A permanent resident with no criminal record, M.G. was worried that a heroin possession conviction might lead to jail and impede his application for citizenship.
– Heroin charge withdrawn
I produced medical records for M.G. from Iran proving an old injury to back up his story that the heroin was to self-medicate for chronic pain. That and a $2500 donation to charity persuaded the Crown to drop the heroin charge and take a plea to possession of marijuana for an absolute discharge. The speeding charge was also withdrawn.
Possession of Marijuana for the Purpose of Trafficking
R. v. M.W.
– Charges withdrawn
Police said they happened to be behind M.W.’s vehicle when he made a left turn without signaling. Police stopped him and said they smelled “a strong odor of marijuana” emanating from the car window. A small baggie of marijuana was visible on the centre console. Further investigation turned up a few zip-lock bags with marijuana, a grinder and a scale. Amount of marijuana seized: 32.5 grams. In addition to possession for the purpose of trafficking, police charged Mr. W. also with Turn – No Signal contrary to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.
Mr. W. told me that police had been following him for some distance and that he had been careful to signal his turn. Also, contrary to the police account, he said they strip searched him in public view at the scene of the arrest. I sent the Crown a request for GPS records for the cruiser and computer transmissions that could corroborate Mr. W.’s assertion he had been followed for some time.
RESULT: After receiving my request, the Crown agreed to drop all charges including the Highway Traffic charge upon Mr. W.’s completion of 40 hours of volunteer work.
Possession of Cocaine
R. v. J. H.
– Charge withdrawn
J.H. was driving the wrong way down a one-way street in Kensington Market when a group of six police officers on bicycles passed by. One of the officers stopped her and asked for her driver’s licence. While she was getting it, he noticed a half-smoked joint in the ashtray. He had her step out of the car. A search of her purse turned up a baggie containing cocaine.
She was charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine.
A review of the arresting officer’s notebook notes revealed a big difference between his version of events and hers. To investigate what really occurred, I asked the Crown for the notes of the other five police officers.
However, despite numerous requests and the urging of a judge, the Crown failed to provide the notes.
RESULT: Unable to produce them, the Crown withdrew the charge.