Pubdate: Tue, 11 Jul 2017
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Windsor Star
Author: Sarah Sacheli
Page: A3


Man convicted despite evidence being lost by police prior to

A man convicted of possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking
despite police losing the drugs will appeal both his conviction and
the 30-month sentence he received Monday.

"I have already consulted with appeal counsel in Toronto," said Ken
Marley, defence lawyer for Miles Patrick Meraw. "I'm hoping the Court
of Appeal will have the opportunity to analyze this. A case like this
has never been before an appellate court."

Meraw, 31, had no criminal record before being arrested on July 18,
2013, in the course of a wiretap investigation targeting another
Windsor drug dealer. The police were listening in on a drug
transaction in the parking lot of Walmart on Tecumseh Road East.

Meraw was arrested after leaving the parking lot. Police say in
Meraw's car, they found nine grams of cocaine and dextrose, a common
cutting agent used by cocaine dealers.

But when it came time for trial, officers couldn't find the

The case triggered controversy about the Windsor police drug vault and
officers' handling of evidence.

Chief Al Frederick said publicly he does not believe there was any
wrongdoing by officers, but has asked the Ministry of Community Safety
and Correctional Services to conduct an inspection of the police
evidence room and make recommendations about possible improvements to
policy and procedures.

Superior Court Justice Pamela Hebner did not reference the lost
evidence in passing sentence Monday. She gave Meraw 10 months' credit
for the time he has already spent in jail, reducing his 30-month
sentence to 20 months. In her decision, Hebner recommended to
corrections officials that Meraw serve his sentence at St. Lawrence
Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre, which has specialized
counselling programs for inmates with mental illness and addictions.

Court heard Meraw has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and
post-traumatic stress disorder after a stranger cracked his skull,
leaving him with a scar over the top of his head running from ear to

Court heard Meraw started using drugs when he was just eight years
old. He used marijuana, graduating to mushrooms and LSD. By Grade 11,
he was using cocaine.

Meraw had been clean for a year when he got into a car accident. The
doctor prescribed opiates, and he was addicted again.

Court heard he sold drugs to finance an opiate addiction that was
costing him hundreds of dollars a day. The prosecution had asked for a
sentence of four years. Marley had asked for a suspended sentence and

Hebner said neither was appropriate.
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