Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jul 2016
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Page: 6
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Colin Perkel


Drug Conviction Quashed

A man who hid drugs in his rectum had his trafficking conviction 
overturned Wednesday because Sarnia police detained him for 43 hours 
waiting for him to defecate before taking him to a justice of the peace.

In throwing out the conviction, Ontario's highest court also 
criticized officers for how they treated Jeffrey Poirier during their 
"bedpan vigil search."

"I do not accept that the officers were acting in good faith," the 
Appeal Court ruled. "The manner in which the search was carried out 
was a flagrant breach of the appellant's rights."

Court records show informants told police that Poirier, of Sarnia, 
was an addict and dealer who hid drugs in his body cavity. Police 
obtained a general search warrant allowing them to detain him until 
he had a bowel movement.

After his arrest in December 2012, Poirier spent 22 hours handcuffed 
to the bars of his cell above his head. Police then put oven mitts 
over his hands, which they duct-taped together, while he continued to 
be handcuffed. He also underwent severe withdrawal symptoms.

The special cell he was in had no running water or toilet so police 
could monitor his excretions - a practice known as a bedpan vigil search.

Poirier eliminated three packages of drugs containing crystal 
methamphetamine and heroin in the first 24 hours. Six hours later, he 
excreted a fourth and final package. The following morning, he was 
taken before a justice of the peace.

In September 2014, Ontario Superior Court Judge John Desotti rejected 
Poirier's arguments to exclude the drugs as evidence because his 
rights had been violated. Desotti convicted him of possession for the 
purpose of trafficking and sentenced him to 10 years.

On appeal, Poirier argued the search warrant did not authorize his 
lengthy detention, that the warrant and police violated the Criminal 
Code by not taking him before a justice of the peace in a reasonable 
time - at the most within 24 hours - and that they violated his rights.

The Appeal Court, ruling on the issue for the first time, decided a 
general warrant can authorize a bedpan-vigil search even though it 
requires a person be detained - but there are limits.

"The manner in which the search was carried out was not proportionate 
to the crime alleged and the circumstances," the court said.
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