Pubdate: Wed, 05 Dec 2012
Source: Prince George Citizen (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 Prince George Citizen
Author: Mark Nielsen
Page: 3


A case against a Lower Mainland man accused of running a large 
marijuana grow operation on the outskirts of Prince George suffered a 
blow Tuesday when a provincial court judge threw out evidence 
obtained under a search warrant.

Judge Victor Galbraith ruled the search warrant invalid because it 
was obtained under an allegation of theft of telecommunication 
service while the actual charge should have been theft of electricity.

Although both offences are under the same section of the Criminal 
Code, and headed with the term "theft of telecommunication service" 
it's broken into subsections for two distinct offences - one related 
to electricity or gas and the other to telecommunications.

Galbraith said he found the information police provided to the 
justice of the peace to obtain the warrant spoke only to alleged 
theft of electricity while the warrant's stated purpose is for 
investigating the alleged theft of telecommunication services.

"A person whose premises are searched are entitled to be informed by 
the warrant of the purpose of the search," Galbraith said. "Here, the 
warrant misinforms as to the reason for the search."

In making his decision, Galbraith dismissed the Crown prosecutor's 
argument that the warrant remained valid when considered in its 
entirety, finding that only holds if the description of the offence 
was merely vague and a review of the items searched might provide clarity.

"But here, there is no vagueness to be clarified," Galbraith said. 
"The description of the offence is clear as it is stated to be for 
the theft of telecommunication service. I therefore find that a 
review of the entirety of the warrant does not assist the Crown and 
for the foregoing reasons I find the warrant to be invalid."

Precisely what the ruling means for the case remains unclear but a 
trial that began Oct. 12 remains scheduled to continue on Jan. 7. 
Federal Crown counsel spokesman Dan Brien declined to comment Tuesday.

In addition to the charge of theft of communications, Minh Van Vu, 
49, has also been charged with production of a controlled substance 
and possession for the purpose of trafficking in relation to the 
Sept. 25, 2010 raid of a 11000 block Christopher Road home near Miworth.

Police have said 1,500 plants with an estimated street value of 
$560,000 were seized and a hydro bypass was uncovered.
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