Defence Says Crown Delayed Proceedings
A former Mono resident whose possession charges were tossed out because it took too long to get to court could beat the same drug rap again, if the judge finds the Crown dragged its heels on disclosing important information.
Ned Maodus, 42, a senior drug investigator with Toronto Police, faced several charges after drugs were said to have been found at his Mono home in March of 2002.
Maodus was initially arrested, and summarily charged, in relation to a domestic dispute but a subsequent search of his residence led to the 2004 charges of possession of heroine and ecstasy, and possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Those charges were stayed by a judge in February 2005 because the initial Nov. 29, 2004, trial date, slated more than two years after Maodus was first charged, violated his charter rights to a trial within a reasonable period of time.
The Crown, however, appealed that decision, arguing that Maodus' rights were not violated because he played a big enough role in delaying the trial. A federal judge will decide whether or not Maodus will stand trial on those charges today ( May 19 ).
"The range ( to bring a matter to trial ) for a serious crime is 16 to 18 months," defence lawyer Peter Brauti told a Brampton court, Tuesday. "For three counts of simple possession ( going to trial four years later ) is a tremendous amount of time.
"We can't have a trial without fairness."
Brauti argued that too much time has lapsed since the incidents occurred and that Maodus' fading memory would make it difficult to conduct a proper trial.
He said the trial was delayed largely due to scheduling and the Crown's mishandling of important information.
"I received a disc from the Crown containing the disclosure but the disc was unusable," said Brauti noting that rather than provide a hard copy of the disclosure, the Crown's office handed over a compact disc containing information that could only be viewed using a complicated computer program. "I couldn't even view the disclosure."
Brauti said several court dates on the matter, stretching over a significant period of time, had been compromised as a result of the inaccessible data -- time he said the Crown should be held accountable for.
Justice Christopher Speyer told the court that a decision handed down by a provincial court judge on May 8 ( provincial charges against Maodus that stemmed from the 2002 domestic dispute were also stayed because they took too long to be heard but were appealed ) compels him to bring this matter back to trial.
However, the corrupt computer disc could be the defence's saving grace, if the judge agrees with Brauti that the delay of trial was caused by the Crown's negligence.
Crown attorney Cindy Sa said it didn't occur to her to print out a hard copy of the roughly 600-page document and hand it over to the defence.
"Why couldn't the Crown just provide ( a hard copy of ) the disclosure like any other Crown attorney's office in the province of Ontario?" Speyer asked. "Is it because ( the Crown ) didn't want to deal with the magnitude of the job?"
Sa argued that the Crown shouldn't have to bare the brunt of responsibility because Maodus played a large enough role in delaying the trial by refusing an early trial date.
Other delays include Maodus' decision to change his lawyer before a trial date had been set, and the defence's decision to wait for the results of an internal police investigation.
At the time of his arrest, Maodus was one of six Toronto officers identified in a separate RCMP investigation into alleged police corruption.
Charges stemming from the alleged 2002 drug seizures were laid roughly two years after the incident took place because those looking into potential police corruption didn't want to compromise their investigation.
However, just days before a tentative trial date was to be set, Toronto Police responded to concerns that the very people investigating the case were involved in illegal activity.
A Dufferin OPP officer claimed that in 2002 two Toronto officers involved in the probe sought access to Maodus' property without being noted on any paper work. It is said that the two men bullied the Dufferin officer when she refused.
Those claims have since been deemed unfounded by Toronto authorities.
Sa argued that the trial may have gone forward sooner had Brauti not insisted on waiting on those results.
The trial is expected to commence Tuesday if the judge sides with the Crown.
source mapt usa