(Canada) Search done without warrant: defence

By Heretic.Ape. · Jun 12, 2007 ·
  1. Heretic.Ape.
    Interesting...I'll keep my eye out for how it ends up getting ruled

    http://www.richmond-news.com/issues07/062207/news/062207nn5.htmlSearch done without warrant: Defence
    By Eve Edmonds
    Richmond police used unlawful tactics, such as sleep deprivation, an implied benefit and denial of legal counsel, to coerce a statement from a suspected drug dealer, the man's lawyer argued in Richmond provincial court Wednesday.
    They also contravened Patrick Chang's charter rights by failing to secure a warrant before searching his car and a storage locker, said David Tarnow.
    Although drugs were found in both locations, that evidence should be deemed inadmissible as it was secured unlawfully, he argued.
    Police are allowed to conduct a search without a warrant if, for example, an officer's safety is at risk, which was claimed in reference to searching the car.
    "Officer safety is a rather dubious argument considering (the suspect) was down on the ground, hand-cuffed and completely compliant," said Tarnow.
    In court, police testified Chang was seen carrying what they suspected contained drugs, which further justified the search.
    However, Tarnow argued police only referred to the "blue shoe box" after they found it in the car.
    Police had been watching Chang for some time before the arrest and there was no mention of a blue shoe box in otherwise meticulously taken notes pertaining to that surveillance, Tarnow said.
    Tarnow's statements marked the beginning of legal arguments in a drug case involving five defendants, including Richmond realtor Albert Luk.
    The trial began as a voir dire, a trial in which the judge determines what evidence is admissible. The voir dire concluded earlier in the afternoon.
    Charges of producing and trafficking drugs laid against Luk and Chang as well as Kai Fung, Ka Chan and Tik Ngai, stem from raids in September 2005 on two locations - 6651 No. 5 Rd. and 5111 Steveston Hwy. Both homes were owned by Luk.
    Officers at the time found huge amounts of chemicals and other paraphernalia used in the production of ecstasy.
    "Between the two locations, it was the single largest production (of illegal drugs) I've ever come across," John Hugel, a chemist with Health Canada told the court in March at the beginning of what is turning into one of Richmond's longest drug trials.
    Following legal arguments, the Crown told the court it has yet another two weeks worth of evidence.
    In the case of Chang, police initially denied him contact with a lawyer, noted Tarnow.
    "But instead of just leaving him alone, they continued to talk with him in an attempt to win his confidence."
    Eventually Chang did speak to his lawyer and an interrogation followed, but by this time the suspect had been awake for almost 24 hours and had little to eat.
    Throughout the interrogation, the lead officer repeatedly asked Chang what was in the two houses because officers would be going in and, for safety reasons, needed to know what they might encounter.
    The officer referred to Chang's "good faith," saying that officers could be "hurt or worse," if they entered the premises unprepared.
    Tarnow argued that police would not have entered the premises "unprepared" regardless, and appealing to Chang's "good faith" implied a benefit to Chang if he co-operated.
    The lengthy court session concluded when Judge Ron Fratkin said it was time to tune into "another Canadian cultural event (referring to the Stanley Cup final Thursday night.)"
    Fratkin was expected to rule on evidence heard in the voir dire late yesterday or today, after the News went to press.

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