26. Regina v. S.J. [Provincial Court of Alberta, Medicine Hat – November 2012]

SJ was pulled over by the RCMP on Hwy #1 just east of Medicine Hat. According to the Constable the vehicle driven by SJ had a “dirty license plate”. After being detained at roadside for an extended period of time during which repeated questions were put to SJ by the police without the benefit of legal consultation the police formulated grounds to eventually conduct a search of vehicle. As a consequence of that search the police seized from the vehicle approximately 30 pounds of cannabis marijuana. According to the police the “bud” was packaged for resale and had an estimate street value of $190,000.00 (if sold “by the gram”) and approximately $115,000.00 if sold “by the ounce”. The police also seized a couple thousand dollars cash from our client. As a consequence of the foregoing SJ was charged with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime. An election of trial by way of Queen’s Bench was entered and a preliminary inquiry scheduled. At the commencement of the preliminary inquiry it became abundantly obvious that the investigation giving rise to the seizures aforesaid was premised upon a multitude of Charter violations including SJ’s right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure (s. 8), right not to be arbitrarily detained (s. 9) and his right to counsel (s. 10). These obvious Charter violations in conjunction with an expert witness problem resulted in a very amicable resolution for the Defense. Bottom line: this prosecution was resolved on the first day of preliminary inquiry by way of a guilty plea to simple possession of marijuana and a fine. The corresponding charges of possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and possessing proceeds of crime were withdrawn. It was also agreed that SJ’s vehicle would be promptly returned to him.

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