12. Regina v. MAP [Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Calgary, October 2019]
This is another RCMP Pipeline case.
On June 1, 2018 at approximately 10:00 p.m. a uniformed member of the RCMP stopped MAP as he was driving eastbound on Highway 1 near Banff, Alberta. According to the officer, MAP was operating his vehicle in a manner that impeded the flow of traffic.
When the officer pulled MAP over to the side of the road and approached the vehicle, he detected the faint scent of raw cannabis Marihuana. The officer then engaged MAP in a carefully orchestrated Q&A during which grounds to detain were solicited.
MAP was ultimately detained for a drug investigation and placed in the back of a police car while a police service dog was deployed to do a parameter search of MAP’s vehicle. Well. . . the dog “hit” on the vehicle thus giving the police grounds to believe that an offence had been committed (ie: the vehicle contained drugs) and MAP’s detention was transformed into an arrest.
Police search of MAP’s vehicle revealed the presence of approximately 50 lbs. of cannabis marihuana. Consequently, MAP was charged with possession of cannabis marihuana for the purpose of trafficking contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
As the Crown was seeking close to 2 years imprisonment in the event of a conviction, MAP retained the legal services of Patrick Fagan. Patrick Fagan entered an election of trial by way of a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta sitting without the intervention of a Jury but with a preliminary inquiry. The preliminary inquiry was conducted in Canmore Provincial Court and during the course of same Patrick Fagan cross-examined the primary investigating officer at length in order to lay the requisite evidentiary foundation for constitutional arguments at trial. . . should it get that far.
For those of you who may be interested in the dynamics associated with conduct of a preliminary inquiry in a so-called Pipeline case and the type of cross-examination that can make the difference between (colloquially speaking) “winning or losing” a transcript of the preliminary inquiry can be accessed by Clicking Here.
At the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry MAP was committed to stand trial as charged. After all, a Judge presiding at a preliminary inquiry does not have the jurisdiction (power) to decide whether a particular detention, arrest and/or seizure is constitutional or not. The primary question addressed by a Judge presiding at a preliminary inquiry is simply this — Is there some evidence upon which a reasonable Jury, properly instructed in the law, could (as opposed to should or would) convict? Well, in the present case the RCMP seized 50 lbs. of dope from within a vehicle driven by MAP; hence. . . a committal to stand trial in such circumstances (unless the Crown truly drops the ball) is inevitable.
The matter was transferred to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta (Calgary) for the purpose of scheduling dates for trial.
BOTTOM LINE: Patrick Fagan was successful in killing this prosecution in its entirety by way of a complete WITHDRAWAL of all charges. How? Prior to scheduling the matter for a Queen’s Bench trial, Patrick Fagan provided a senior Crown Prosecutor with a copy of the transcript of the preliminary inquiry and invited that person to ask whether there existed “a reasonable likelihood of conviction” as a consequence of cross-examination at preliminary inquiry. In the final analysis, the Crown arrived inexorably at the conclusion that there was no reasonable likelihood of a conviction and conceded the inevitable.
Patrick C. Fagan is a highly accomplished lawyer with an impressive career spanning over 35 years in the legal field.