HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Judge's Death Puts Cases In Jeopardy
Pubdate: Wed, 19 Dec 2007
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Times Colonist
Author: Richard Watts
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Crown and defence lawyers are working to keep on track two 
long-running and ongoing Victoria cases temporarily delayed by the 
sudden death of a Supreme Court judge.

Conferences have been scheduled for January to make sure of 
continuations of the murder trial of Ruby Ann Ruffolo and the 
constitutional challenge to the marijuana charges levelled at two men 
arrested in a raid on a house used by the Vancouver Island Compassion 
Society as a grow operation.

Both cases were the responsibility of Justice Robert Edwards, who 
died suddenly on Nov. 5, at the age of 61. Those cases have been 
handed to Justice M. Marvyn Koenigsberg.

Ruffolo's case has been delayed since her arrest in March 2004 in 
connection with the 2003 death of her husband John. She has 
repeatedly showed up in court to say she has had trouble retaining a 
lawyer and been granted delays.

But recently retained Victoria lawyer Jim Heller said yesterday 
pre-trial meetings have been scheduled for early in the new year to 
see when it's possible to begin the trial.

Philippe Lucas, of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, said one 
new development in the marijuana case since the death of Justice 
Edwards is the Crown's move to dismiss the charges against Michael Swallow.

Charges of producing and processing marijuana remain against Mat 
Beren. At least one conference has already occurred to discuss how 
much can be salvaged from the testimony heard before Edwards died.

The case had already begun and several weeks of testimony has 
occurred to support the Compassion Society's constitutional challenge 
to the Canadian marijuana laws.

Lucas said the Vancouver Island Compassion Society has already spent 
more than $150,000 on lawyers and other expenses, such as flying in 
witnesses to testify.
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