HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Worker's Rights Violated, Judge Rules
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Nov 2007
Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Kingston Whig-Standard
Author: Sue Yanagisawa
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cannabis and Driving)


A former pipeline worker made a good decision when he asked to have a
marijuana possession charge from Kirkland Lake transferred to
Kingston's Ontario Court of Justice.

Usually, when people indicate their intention to plead guilty to
charges and request, as a matter of convenience, to have them moved
from one region to another in Canada, the Crown office in the area
where the charge was laid recommends sentence. Most of the time,
judges accept those recommendations.

The Kirkland Lake Crown was recommending that Trevor White pay a fine
of $350 - and White wasn't quibbling.

But Justice Rommel Masse concluded that the possession charge arose
out of a serious violation of White's constitutional rights and
ordered an absolute discharge, which means White has no record of conviction.

Federal Crown attorney Dave Crowe told the judge White was pulled over
by police in the Kirkland Lake area on March 29, shortly before 3:30
p.m., for a licence plate infraction under the Highway Traffic Act.

Police subsequently searched his vehicle and found what they claim was
5.5 grams of marijuana in the pocket of a coat lying next to the
driver's seat.

White offered no dispute to the police report, except to tell Masse
that he thought they'd calculated the amount of the drug on the high
side. He estimated he had just enough for "a couple of marijuana

The fact that he had the drug with him in his car, according to Crowe,
was the reason a fine was being sought. But lawyer Paul Blais, who
assisted White with his plea, and the judge both had concerns about
the brief evidence they heard.

Blais observed that the police report suggests the officer who first
stopped White determined the drug's weight before any other
investigators showed up and before he radioed for a drug-sniffing dog.
Masse was perplexed that police conducted the search in the first
place and demanded to know what the grounds were for the search. White
said he didn't know.

He told the judge he was presented with a form and signed it, allowing
police to rummage through his vehicle and its contents, after it was
suggested to him that things would go better for him in court if he
did. Masse was told that White had no prior record.

"It just amazes me how a traffic stop can go to a full-fledged search
of your car and your clothing without any grounds," the judge told
White. Then he asked, "Mr. Crowe, do you have any grounds?" Crowe told
him the brief he'd been sent didn't disclose any and speculated that
police might have been suspicious because White was driving from
British Columbia, considered by many to be Canada's premier
pot-growing province.

Masse refused to impose any fine because he felt there had been a
violation of White's fundamental constitutional rights, which prohibit
arbitrary detention and unreasonable search.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek