R. v. R.J. [Provincial Court, Medicine Hat, February 2017]
R.J. was pulled over outside of Brooks for a minor traffic infraction. During the course of their interaction with R.J. they discovered that he had a drug related criminal record and that he had recently been arrested for possession of proceeds of crime (approximately $75,000.00 cash was found in a bag in his vehicle a few months prior). A condition of his bail when he was released on that charge was he not leave the Province of Saskatchewan. The police arrested him for breaching his bail conditions and searched his vehicle. Police located approximately $82,000.00 cash in a bag in the backseat of the vehicle along with a small amount of marijuana and approximately 5g of what they believed to be cocaine. R.J. was charged with two counts of breaching his bail conditions contrary to section 145(3) of the Criminal Code, two counts of simple possession contrary to section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and possession of proceeds of crime contrary to section 354 of the Criminal Code. Ms. Fagan took the position that the police had unlawfully seized her client’s money and that he was not only entitled to be acquitted (i.e. found not guilty) but that the Court should order that the police return his money. The trial was scheduled for 3 days and the Crown indicated that he would be asking for a significant jail sentence if R.J. was convicted. Ms. Fagan made a number of Charter arguments, including that the police deliberately muted the in-car video recording and destroyed evidence and that they unlawfully searched the vehicle.
BOTTOM LINE: The Trial Judge agreed with Ms. Fagan and criticized the police. On the last day of trial R.J. was found not guilty of all charges and his money was directed returned by the Judge.
Patrick C. Fagan is a highly accomplished lawyer with an impressive career spanning over 35 years in the legal field.