Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jan 2009
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


Ontario Court Judge Excludes 600 Marijuana Plants From

Pot-growing charges against a Toronto man were tossed out this week after an
Ontario court judge found police inserted "cut and paste ...fluff" and used
a stereotype about Asian people in order to obtain a search warrant.

In his written ruling, Judge William Bassel said given the "boiler
plate" information used by police that had "no connection to the
investigation in question," he had no choice but to exclude the
evidence of 600 marijuana plants found on Dec. 11, 2006 in the
west-end house at 26 Poynter Dr.

"There was no urgency in obtaining the warrant and the steps taken
suggests an almost rubber stamp," he wrote in the 26-page ruling.

"A search warrant's reach is so serious and so intrusive that there is
an objective that must be met, and if that objective is not sought and
recognized by the police, the very rationale and heart of the
protection of Section 8 will be relegated to the dustbin."

Section 8 of the Charter Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
provides everyone in Canada with protection against unreasonable
search and seizure.

All drug-related charges against Tien Van Nguyen were withdrawn after
the ruling.

Defence lawyer Kim Schofield challenged the constitutional validity of
the warrant, which was issued after her client was arrested and his
house searched. "People would be shocked if they knew the ease at
which the police can obtain a search warrant to enter a private
residence," Schofield said yesterday.

Bassel noted police became interested in the dwelling after an
anonymous tipster advised, that the "front yard is looked after enough
to avoid suspicion" and "two years ago Asian people bought the house."

The police also cited hydro records showing the average consumption
for the preceding five months was 80.566 kWH, compared to the average
38 and 39 kWH used in neighbouring homes.

The judge questioned the reference to Asians: "What possible relevance can
the fact that the supposed owners are Asians have, other than to subtly mark
this fact as an improper stereotypical message ...that here goes again yet
another Asian grow operation?"
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin