Pubdate: Thu, 11 Jan 2018
Source: Penticton Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Dale Boyd
Page: A1


Jennifer Montgomery, 31, was charged with a number of drug offences
after Mounties obtained a search warrant for her home

Police had every right to use text messages found on a woman's phone
to launch a subsequent drug investigation inside the home she had just
left, a judge ruled Wednesday in Penticton. The validity of that
tactic was challenged in a voir dire at the outset of the B.C. Supreme
Court trial for Jennifer Montgomery, 31, who is charged with
possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking, plus
simple possession of heroin and methamphetamine.

Court heard how officers arrested Natasha Clifton for breach of a
court order outside Montgomery's home on June 22, 2016.

Officers then looked through Clifton's phone and found text messages
between her and Montgomery that gave them cause to suspect Montgomery
was selling drugs.

With the messages in hand, police then obtained a search warrant for
Montgomery's home.

Defence counsel Michael Patterson argued police violated Montgomery's
right against unlawful search and seizure by using Clifton's messages
against her.

"We are not arguing the rights of Ms. Clifton. We're not concerned
either with the search of the cellphone as a device. The argument is
focused on the electronic conversation," Patterson said.

Crown counsel Ginger Holmes suggested in reply that Patterson's effort
to challenge the warrant seemed "a lot like a fishing expedition," and
noted the texts wouldn't be called as evidence during the trial itself.

Justice Gary Weatherill eventually sided with the Crown, explaining he
didn't see the evidence gathered through the search warrants as "fruit
from the forbidden tree." After that was resolved, the trial began
with the Crown calling Const. Chad Jackson of the Penticton RCMP
Targeted Enforcement Unit as its first witness.

Jackson recalled that after the search warrant was approved around
10:30 p.m. on June 22, he and four other officers surrounded
Montgomery's residence and entered.

A male and a female came down the stairs with their hands up, he said,
and Montgomery was located in an upstairs bedroom with a male.

"In addition to Ms. Montgomery, who opened the door, there was a male
I recognized to be Ryan 'Lucky' Luscombe, who was standing directly
beside Ms. Montgomery holding a samurai sword," Jackson testified.

"I initially told Mr. Luscombe to put the samurai sword down, which he
complied with."

Montgomery was arrested after the search warrant was executed and
Jackson recalled drugs and multiple items related to trafficking were
located in a fire safe, which was in the middle of the bed in the
master bedroom where Montgomery was located.

The trial is expected to continue through Friday.
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