Pubdate: Wed, 28 Jul 2010
Source: Terrace Standard (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Terrace Standard


Charges against a couple facing drug charges in court for the past 
two years have been stayed.

Diana and Jeffrey Kennedy had their charges stayed after their 
defence lawyer, Don Skogstad of Nelson, made a charter of rights 
argument which questioned the police execution of the search warrant.

Skogstad said concerns arose over the execution of the search 
warrant, and whether it was done in the proper lawful manner.

His concerns came from Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights 
and Freedoms, which says that "everyone has the right to be secure 
against unreasonable search or seizure."

"We emphasized what we thought were the real concerns with the case," 
said Skogstad.

"A letter comes back and says the local agent (prosecutor) entered a 
stay of proceedings, exactly why we really never know."

The prosecutor didn't indicate which of Skogstad's concerns lead to 
the stay, said Skogstad.

"In charter cases, this (stay of proceedings) is the result quite often.

The couple's case began in April 2008, when police arrested then 
46-year-old Kennedy after executing a search on a property on 
Lodgepole St., in the Jackpine subdivision.

At that time, police said they found about 150 pot plants in a 
building, and what they called a "quantity" of harvested marijuana in 
another building.

In regards to specific details of the Kennedy case, Skogstad didn't 
want to comment.

But, he said in general, when officers apply for a search warrant, 
they are required to set out their reasons for wanting it, and then 
focus on the information they've obtained that supports it.

Sometimes information can be misleading, incomplete or incorrect, 
said Skogstad.

"Sometimes they say things about what supports the investigation and 
leave out what doesn't support the investigation," he said.

Jack Talstra, whose law firm tries drug cases in court, wasn't sure 
which attorney in his office handled the Kennedy case.

But he agreed that a stay of proceedings isn't unusual in charter cases.

As a case gets closer to trial, prosecutors will take a closer look 
at it and may have seen something they thought they should let go, he said.

Skogstad said this case took two years because he wanted to make sure 
all the necessary information was in place for the charter argument 
so it wouldn't be rejected.

The couple obtained a medical marijuana licence now, said Skogstad, 
so Kennedy is able to use medical marijuana legally.
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