Pubdate: Wed, 25 Feb 2004
Source: Duncan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Duncan News Leader
Author: Jennifer Hourihan


A Large Pot-Smuggling Operation Uncovered In Duncan In November May Be
Related To The Searches On The B.C. Legislature.

In Duncan provincial court on Monday, lawyers representing Keith
Norman Fraser and James Peter MacDonald - each facing charges of
possession of marijuana for the purposes of trafficking and possession
of marijuana for the purposes of exporting it from Canada - said they
haven't received material they believe exists as part of the
investigation into their clients.

Clark Purves, representing MacDonald, said he believes part of the
problem may be that B.C. Supreme Court Justice Patrick Dohm has until
March 2 to consider how much information contained in warrants used to
search the legislature will be made public.

"It certainly appears to me by the timeframes involved, by the
locations involved, and by the investigators involved, there may be
some overlap between the material Mr. Justice Dohm is holding and this
material," he said.

Purves did not elaborate on what the connection between the cases
might be, or if there definitively is one.

But he said he's sure there is still more material - including the
possibility of wiretaps - being withheld.

"It's clear to me there is still a large volume of material we haven't

Purves said the investigation into his clients was given an operation
name by the RCMP, which is only done with an investigation of a
certain size and therefore he expects more material to be turned over
to him.

Fraser and MacDonald were arrested at the end of a month-long joint
North Cowichan/ Duncan RCMP, Vancouver Island District border
integrity unit and U.S. Customs investigation. A plane, truck, car and
160 pounds of packaged marijuana bud were seized at the time.

The two men have not yet entered pleas to the charges. Purves said
they will not be pleading until the disclosure issues have been solved.

The case is to return to court in March after Justice Dohm makes a
decision on the legislature warrants.

That decision will also help determine if warrants used to search the
Shawnigan Lake Road house owned by former ministerial assistant David
Basi are made public, after Duncan judge Keith Bracken declined to
release the warrants until after Dohm's decision.
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