R. v. M.E. [Alberta Provincial Court, Didsbury, February 2018]

M.E. was pulled over driving a vehicle on the highway outside of Didsbury as a consequence of a burnt out tail light. The police ran his information through a computer database and discovered that there was a warrant out for his arrest. They arrested him. As no one (the driver nor the passenger, a 16 year old girl) could produce insurance or registration for the vehicle, it was towed. The police conducted an inventory search of the vehicle prior to towing it and discovered 31 grams of cocaine and 465 grams of marijuana in the trunk. M.E. was arrested for possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, contrary to section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. M.E. retained Ms. Fagan to defend these charges. If convicted, a lengthy jail term was imminent. Ms. Fagan promptly entered pleas of “not guilty” and scheduled a trial date. Ms. Fagan identified several issues with the police investigation which would make it, in her view, challenging for them to put him in possession of the drugs. In the weeks leading up to trial the Crown, recognizing these issues offered to allow M.E. to plead guilty to the lesser included offence of simple possession and to pay a fine. It meant that M.E. would have a drug conviction entered on his record. Understandably fearful of a jail term M.E. initially wanted to “take the deal” but changed his instructions when Ms. Fagan expressed confidence in her ability to kill the prosecution in its entirety.

BOTTOM LINE: Ms. Fagan was able to kill the prosecution in its entirety. All charges were ultimately withdrawn. M.E. incurred no criminal record.

Patrick Fagan

Patrick C. Fagan is a highly accomplished lawyer with an impressive career spanning over 35 years in the legal field.

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