Pubdate: Tue, 30 Oct 2012
Source: Abbotsford Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 The Abbotsford Times
Author: Rochelle Baker


Evidence against an Abbotsford marijuana advocate charged with
trafficking may be tossed out after a judge ruled a police search
violated the accused's Charter rights.

Pot activist Tim Felger is on trial for one count of possession and
six counts of trafficking after Abbotsford Police raided his Da Kine
shop on Essendene Avenue in Abbotsford on May 13, 2009.

Chilliwack Supreme Court Justice Brian Joyce ruled Oct. 26 that
Abbotsford Police had conducted an unlawful search at Da Kine.

On Friday Joyce will decide what evidence, if any, from that search
will be allowed, said Felger's defence lawyer Ken Beatch.

Abbotsford undercover police officers originally entered the store
without a warrant, although Felger informed the APD and posted signs
on the door of his store warning that police were not welcome on the
property without a warrant.

Following the initial warrantless search, officers used their
observations to obtain a warrant for a second search, said Beatch.

"The judge is concerned with the initial search," he

"It's actually good for Canadians because it limits the power of the
police to search a person's store or residence without prior judicial

Should Joyce exclude all the evidence obtained in the initial search,
the case against Felger will likely be dismissed.

The case is important because it centers around citizens' expectation
of privacy in their homes and private businesses under the Charter,
Beatch said, adding the decision has greater implications than
Felger's support of the legalization of marijuana.

"The issue is much bigger than [Felger's] political views," said

"This is good for Canada. We live in a free and democratic county with
limits to police powers, or we risk ending up with a police state."

At the time of his arrest, Abbotsford Police alleged Felger had been
selling pot to minors. However, no evidence was presented at trial
that suggested Felger was selling to minors, said Beatch.

Felger has unsuccessfully run for government office on a platform to
legalize drugs.

His Da Kine store, which sold drug paraphernalia, displayed signs
calling for an end to drug prohibition.

It was closed following a protracted battle with the

Felger then moved his operations to Mission.

He opened the Das Bhang Convenience Store and Political Office on
Horne Street in the fall of 2010.

He was arrested and charged with a second set of drug trafficking
charges after Mission RCMP arrested him in February 2011.

Similar to the APD operation, the Mounties and an undercover operator
worked a sting and arrested Felger for allegedly selling pot out of
the Das Bhang store.
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