Pubdate: Fri, 13 Apr 2007
Source: Yukon News (CN YK)
Contact:  2007 Yukon News
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Canada)
Bookmark: (Outlaw Bikers)


The fight against Whitehorse grow ops suffered a setback this

Cops, Crown prosecutors and others are going to be cursing territorial
court Judge Karen Ruddy as some sort of liberal wank.

This week, Ruddy issued an 83-page judgment on the admissibility of
evidence collected by police investigating the high-profile Copper
Ridge grow-op case.

She turfed out a lot of the evidence.

So much evidence, in fact, that it's difficult to imagine how the
Crown can continue prosecuting its case, in which 4,500 marijuana
plants were seized.

As a result, nine suspected indoor horticulturists could be set

It would be easy to pin the blame on Ruddy.

After all, it was her decision that will, in all likelihood, set these
alleged bad guys free.

The simple view is crystal clear: Cops busted bad guys. Judge released
bad guys.

Stupid judge. Stupid system.

But if you read Ruddy's thoughtful, well-documented decision an
entirely different picture emerges.

And Ruddy's is much closer to the truth.

The territory is not being policed well.

Last summer, police launched Project Meander, which saw undercover
officers posing as travelling salesmen peddling T-shirts and touques
emblazoned with marijuana leaves.

The operation cost $70,000. Six cops executed the plan, which entailed
driving around to Yukon communities all summer.

It resulted in 17 charges, 16 of 'em for marijuana.

Over the course of two months, police confiscated 31 grams of weed.
That, we're told, is equivalent to 31 Cheech-sized joints -- fatties
in druggie parlance.

It's not much for two months of police work, but the
information-challenged RCMP publicity teams played it up like they'd
just wiped out the Hells Angels.

In March, two of the charges against the accused were


Because police failed to provide evidence against the accused in a
reasonable time.


Another case went to trial.

That bust was ruled entrapment -- the undercover cops enticed the guy
to commit a crime that he might not have participated in otherwise.
And that's not kosher.

In fact, it's Police 101 stuff.

So, either M Division cops didn't know the rule. Or they did, and
played fast and loose with Canadian laws. You choose.

Both are damning.

As a result, 12 other charges against Yukon citizens were dropped.
Another pleaded guilty. Only two charges stand.

Not a good record.

Alright, let's examine some stats.

In 2004, the last year for such stats, RCMP in the NWT confiscated 165
pot plants.

That same year, the Yukon detachment confiscated nine.

What gives?

That same year, police in the NWT confiscated 26,457 grams of

Police in the Yukon confiscated a measly 708.

Why? Nobody deals in the Yukon?

And now there's Ruddy's damning ruling on Project Mobile, the grow-op

After examining evidence presented in court, and researching legal
precedents across the country, she ruled the local RCMP ran roughshod
over the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The lead RCMP officer on the case manipulated a document dubbed
Information to Obtain, which is used to secure a search warrant, said

Case co-ordinator Cpl. Thomas Wyers altered evidence provided by other
police officers, she said.

"Each of these alterations or omissions has the effect of
strengthening, at least on paper, the impression that the home is a
site of a marijuana grow operation."

Wyers work was sloppy, she said.

"While I don't feel that Corporal Wyers set out to mislead the justice
of the peace in a deliberate and calculated manner, it is clear to me
that he was both careless and reckless with respect to his obligations
within the prior judicial authorization process."

Another arrest was deemed "unlawful."

A traffic stop was found to be an "arbitrary detention" in violation
of the charter.

After being arrested, police violated the men's fundamental right to
legal counsel, said Ruddy.

A lawyer was not provided to one of the men fast enough.

In another case, the police officer pre-chose one of the men's

Luckily for him, the lawyer wasn't in Syria.

And one of the arrested men, who was Asian, was told to translate a
lawyer's advice to a second man, who was also Asian.

"Of all the concerns raised, this was perhaps the most shocking. It is
absolutely appalling that Corporal Wyers would consider this procedure
to be in any way appropriate police practice in facilitating an
accused person's right to counsel.

"It is equally appalling that duty counsel apparently condoned his
suggestion," Ruddy said.

"I find this procedure adopted by Corporal Wyers to be a flagrant
breach of Mr. Zhou's right to counsel. In addition, I find it to be a
breach of Mr. Jiang's right to counsel.

"It is grossly inappropriate, in my view, for the police to put an
accused in the position of having to disclose confidential discussions
with his or her legal counsel to anyone.

"Such a violation renders the right to counsel utterly

In fact, Ruddy decided that the police didn't even process the
fingerprinting and photographing of the accused properly.

In this grow-op case, nine dubious guys could be released back on the
street because of shoddy police work.

Yukoners are paying $14 million a year to the RCMP for police

It's a lot of money for a simple contract.

The territory deserves better.

And there is a another point that Ruddy highlights.

"Many of the breaches before me are serious ones," wrote Ruddy.
"Others, less so, but the totality of the breaches clearly creates a
picture of a general lack of respect for individual rights of the charter."

The charter is Canada's legal guarantee against oppression -- from
government and the federal police.

The fight for cherished freedom is, in fact, what eight Canadians are
supposed to have died for in Afghanistan this week.

Here in Canada it is law.

You can't embrace it as a national right, and then suspend it for
alleged ne'er-do-wells.

The freedoms we hold dear must apply to all. Or none.

There are no half measures.

Ruddy's ruling suggests some police officers hold the charter in
contempt, believing it hinders their ability to nab the bad guys.

But, in fact, it's sloppy police work that lets the bad guys off the

We pay the police to get the bad guys while upholding the tenants of
the charter.

You can't break the law to catch the bad guys.

That makes it a tough job.

But that is the job.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake