R. v. A.D. [Court of Queen’s Bench of Saskatchewan, Swift Current, December 2018]
A.D. was driving along the TransCanada Highway heading east when he was pulled over by members of the RCMP. When they approached the vehicle to speak with A.D., the driver and lone occupant, the officers sensed that he was nervous and noted what they believed to be several indicia of a person transporting drugs including that he was driving a rental car which was rented for a short period of time, and was travelling from a “source” Province to a “distribution” Province. When the police conducted a database check on the driver they discovered a report that mentioned an affiliation with the “Hell’s Angels” and the drug “meth”. The police arrested A.D. and conducted a search of his vehicle where they located 350g of cocaine. A.D. was charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, which is punishable by up to life in prison. A preliminary inquiry was held and (no surprises) the Court determined that there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial. The trial was initially scheduled for two days. An additional two days was scheduled for argument. Ms. Fagan argued a number of Charter violations including: (1) that the police had no grounds for the initial traffic stop. It was arbitrary and unconstitutional; (2) in questioning A.D. the police violated his right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure and that they failed to advise him of the true reason for his detention and his right to contact counsel; (3) that there were insufficient grounds for a warrantless arrest and search and finally, (4) that all evidence obtained by police (i.e. the brick of cocaine) should be excluded from evidence. Following extensive cross-examination of the officers involved Ms. Fagan launched an attack on their credibility, alleging that their version of events was not believable and that there had been grave breaches of her client’s Charter rights. Arguments were made orally and then written submissions were directed by the presiding Justice. In addition to oral submissions, Ms. Fagan also wrote and filed a 65 page legal memorandum and the matter was thereafter scheduled for decision.
BOTTOM LINE: The week before the Judge was scheduled to give his decision following trial the Crown entered a stay of proceedings (i.e. ended the prosecution again A.D.), ostensibly acknowledging the strength of Ms. Fagan’s position.
Patrick C. Fagan is a highly accomplished lawyer with an impressive career spanning over 35 years in the legal field.