This is another Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) PIPELINE case resulting in the seizure of a relatively large quantity of cocaine and marijuana.
N.M.T. was the driver and sole occupant of a west-bound vehicle on Highway #1 near Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The R.C.M.P. happened to be running radar at that time and N.M.T.’s vehicle registered 143km/hr in the 110km zone. The R.C.M.P. stopped N.M.T. for speeding and thereafter engaged in a Pipeline drug investigation. The Mountie, well trained and with good instinct, detained and ultimately arrested N.M.T. for possession of a controlled substance. A
roadside search of N.M.T.’s vehicle revealed the presence of multiple ounces of cocaine, multiple kilograms of marijuana and over $22,000.00 in cash. Consequently, N.M.T. was charged with the following offences:
- Possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act .
- Possession of cannabis marijuana for the purpose of trafficking contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
This Pipeline investigation gave rise to 2 separate drug prosecutions – the cocaine prosecution ended up in the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan and the cannabis marijuana prosecution remained in the Provincial Court for Saskatchewan. Both prosecutions were dealt with separately by Patrick Fagan and what follows is in relation to the
cocaine prosecution only; the results of the cannabis marijuana prosecution can be found at 2017 Drug Case #13.
Regarding the cocaine prosecution, Patrick Fagan elected trial by way of Queen ’s Bench with a preliminary inquiry. During the course of the preliminary inquiry, through cross -examination of the primary investigating officer, Patrick Fagan laid the evidentiary foundation for constitutional arguments at trial. At the conclusion of the preliminary
inquiry N.M.T. was ordered that to stand trial in Queen’s Bench on the cocaine charge.
At trial Patrick Fagan sought the exclusion of all evidence (ie: the “cocaine”) seized by the R.C.M.P. a s a consequence of the violation of N.M.T.’s constitutional right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure, right to not be arbitrarily detained and right to counsel as guaranteed by Sections 8, 9 and 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms (the “Charter”) respectively. Patrick Fagan’s Charter applications were vigorously challenged by Crown counsel (also a “Q.C.”) but in the final analysis the Defence prevailed.
BOTTOM LINE: The learned Quee n’s Bench Trial Justice ultimately found multiple violations of N.M.T.’s Charter rights and excluded the cocaine from evidence pursuant to Section 24(2) of the Charter. In the absence of the cocaine as evidence, t he prosecution was “dead in the water”.
For a transcript of the written Queen ’s Bench decision click here