B.C. judge tosses ecstasy lab case for rights violations

By Terrapinzflyer · Dec 11, 2009 · Updated Jul 30, 2011 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Ecstasy lab trial inches forward

    he trial of five men charged in connection with a massive multi-million-dollar ecstasy bust two years ago is slowly getting underway in Richmond provincial court.

    Tin Ho, 46, of Vancouver, and four young Richmond men in their 20s face charges of production of a controlled substance.
    The four accused are Qing Hou, Shao Huang, Yin Li, and Kai Zhou. All five were released on bail at the end of January, 2007.

    The court spent part of the Wednesday morning session just trying to nail down a time in the New Year when a voir dire can continue. Only after the voir dire (in which lawyers argue what evidence can or can't be used) can the actual trial begin, according to Crown prosecutor Michael LeDressay.

    LeDressay told the News it's not unusual for a drug case to take so long to come to a trial when there are several accused, each with his own lawyer, which can cause scheduling conflicts.

    LeDressay added the investigation was a complicated one. "The investigation was a year long," he said. "So there's a lot of material."

    At the time of the bust in January 2007, RCMP said the investigation had begun in mid-2005, as a result of a tip from a resident.

    RCMP spent a year investigating, and on Jan. 30, 2007 executed search warrants on two homes in Richmond, arresting seven people, including the five accused now standing trial in Richmond. Two Burnaby residents were also arrested at the time.

    Police found vats of chemicals for making ecstasy and nine pill presses in a home at 3671 Raymond Avenue. They also found bulletproof vests, an imitation handgun and Asian martial arts weapons, like throwing stars and ceremonial swords.

    They also found 78 kilograms of ecstasy power and 20 kilos of ecstasy pills at 107 - 7480 Gilbert Road. Police estimated the drugs in one house alone to be worth $3 million.

    Nelson Bennett, Richmond News
    Published: Friday, December 11, 2009


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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Re: Ecstasy lab trial inches forward

    B.C. judge tosses ecstasy case for rights violations
    'The officers in charge just did not seem to care,' writes judge

    The Richmond trial of five men accused of running a multi-million dollar ecstasy lab has been thrown out of court because of what a provincial court judge says were repeated Charter of Rights violations.

    In January 2007, Mounties uncovered nearly 100 kilograms of ecstasy and nine pill presses in two Richmond homes following a year-long investigation.

    Tin Lik Ho, Qing Hou, Shao Wei Huang, Yi Feng Kevin Li and Kai Lai Kyle Zhou were all charged with producing ecstasy and possessing ecstasy for the purpose of trafficking.

    But in a 30-page provincial court judgment, Judge Paul Meyers issued a scathing indictment of the RCMP's handling of the case.

    "The police officers who were in charge of this investigation, from start to finish, violated so many Charter rights of the accused persons, that one might have thought that the investigation took place before the Charter of Rights had been enacted," Meyers wrote.

    He cited police for not bothering to arrange for interpreters to explain to the accused the reasons for their arrest or their rights, despite knowing they probably would not speak or understand English very well.

    Meyers blasts police for not showing the accused the warrants to two houses and failing to file a report to the Richmond court registry within seven days of the warrant's execution as required by law.

    In an attempt to clean the accused of potentially volatile substances, Meyers said, police hosed down the half-naked suspects in the middle of winter while in view of their neighbours.

    "All cumulatively, in my view, amount to an unavoidable conclusion that the officers in charge of this case were totally unconcerned with what Charter rights these co-accuseds were guaranteed by virtue of Canadian law," Meyers said. "The officers in charge just did not seem to care."

    Meyers accused the officers in charge of the investigation of operating "in bad faith" every step of the way.

    "In this case, I have decided that Charter rights were violated for each and every accused," Meyers wrote.

    While acknowledging there is a strong and vested interest in prosecuting those accused of distributing illegal substances, "society also has a very strong and vested interest in making sure that the police do not run roughshod over the cherished rights that we have proudly enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms Act," said Meyers.

    "I have concluded that, in the long term, the repute of the administration of justice would be adversely affected by admitting into evidence against any of the accused anything that was seized by the police."

    Meyers dismissed as evidence everything the police seized during their January 2007 raid.

    CBC News Posted: Jul 29, 2011 6:32 AM PT

  2. Terrapinzflyer
    Re: Ecstasy lab trial inches forward

    Judge tosses drug case, blasts RCMP for 'ignoring' Charter rights
    A B.C. judge has tossed out all evidence seized in a massive ecstasy-production investigation after finding that RCMP officers "ignored" the Charter rights of five suspects to such a degree that "one might have thought that the investigation took place before the Charter of Rights had been enacted."

    VANCOUVER — A B.C. judge has tossed out all evidence seized in a massive ecstasy-production investigation after finding that RCMP officers "ignored" the Charter rights of five suspects to such a degree that "one might have thought that the investigation took place before the Charter of Rights had been enacted."

    In a 34-page ruling, the judge took officers to task for hosing down two half-naked suspects outside their home in the cold, failing to bring in interpreters to read suspects their rights, failing to allow suspects to read warrants and not filing court documents in a timely manner.

    "The officers in charge just did not seem to care," B.C. provincial court Judge Paul R. Meyers wrote. "I find that the cumulative violations in this case lead to the conclusion that the officers in charge of this investigation operated throughout in 'bad faith.'"

    The scathing judgment, dated June 21 and posted online this week, came after more than two dozen hearings carried out over two years.

    RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Annie Linteau said Friday that they were reviewing the decision, to identify any areas of concern and how best to address those concerns.

    A spokeswoman for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, which handles drug-related cases, said they are not appealing the decision.

    Over 14 months, RCMP drug investigators watched the comings and goings of several people at multiple locations in Richmond, B.C.

    They learned that ecstasy tablets were being produced, packed into foil bags marked "Chinese tea" and then shipped to Toronto and elsewhere — an operation that a police expert later testified was capable of producing $10 million worth of pills.

    In January 2007, police watched as two men discarded two large plastic garbage bags into a Dumpster. Believing that the suspects had clued in that police were watching them and were now dismantling their production plant, officers decided to move in and arrest the suspects.

    The missteps by police, according to the judge, began immediately.

    Even though police had a "pretty good idea" that some of the suspects had limited English skills, police "basically just closed their eyes to this real, potential problem" and did nothing in advance to plan for it, such as having warrants translated into Chinese or bringing in Chinese interpreters, the judge said.

    In at least one instance, a suspect answered "no" when asked by the arresting officer whether he understood his rights after they were read to him.

    "There was no excuse" for not having translators, the judge said.

    At two homes, police failed to read or show the contents of the search warrant to the homes' occupants, which is required by law.

    At one home, two occupants were forced to lie handcuffed on the front lawn on their stomachs — one was wearing only boxers, the other was wearing boxers and a T-shirt.

    Because police believed the men had been exposed to toxic chemicals, they called in a fire crew to decontaminate the men by spraying their bodies with cold water.

    "It is not an insignificant thing to force someone to stand or sit, half-naked, while being hosed down in front of their neighbours, in the middle of the day and in the middle of winter," the judge said. "This humiliation so easily could have been avoided" if police brought in portable privacy screens.

    At another location, the judge criticized police for using the "dynamic entry" method of executing a search warrant — busting down the door — when there was no evidence the occupants were armed or dangerous or could hide or dispose of evidence at a moment's notice.

    Under the law, police are required within a week of executing a search warrant to file a report in court outlining items seized and their grounds for seizing them.

    In this case, police didn't file a report until one month later.

    "It is fundamental to the rights of people who are about to have their homes searched by the police to know that the courthouse in their area will have all of the legal documents pertaining to the intrusion of their privacy, available for them to inspect," the judge said.

    Asked in court why it took so long, an RCMP sergeant testified that he was unaware of the filing requirements.

    JULY 29, 2011

  3. Alfa
    So, where is the money? Surely such a massive drug production operation involves an obscene amount of money.
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