HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Man Sues Police For Wrecking Grow-op
Pubdate: Tue, 29 Jan 2008
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Times Colonist
Author: Rob Shaw, Times Colonist
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


The Saanich Police Department is being sued by a man who claims his
marijuana grow operation was damaged during a police raid, even though
he had a Health Canada certificate to legally grow the substance.

Philippe Albert is suing the Corporation of the District of Saanich
for $11,176, according to a notice of claim filed in B.C. small claims
court Dec. 15, 2007. He is claiming $8,000 for police damage to his
equipment and $3,000 for the value of his marijuana plants, which
police say were later destroyed.

Saanich police seized pot plants and growing equipment during a search
warrant on Albert's McKenzie Avenue home, near Cedarwood Street, on
Dec. 15, 2005.

Albert claims he had permission from Health Canada to grow the
marijuana for medicinal purposes to treat a "permanent disabling back
injury," say court documents.

Saanich has yet to be formally served in the lawsuit and cannot
comment on the case, said municipal solicitor Chris Nation.

Albert's lawyer, Mike Scherr, said he did not have permission from his
client to discuss the case publicly.

But Saanich police are defending their actions, saying they searched
the rented home after an investigation by their street crime unit.
They seized 95 pot plants, said spokesman Sgt. John Price.

Police have seen Health Canada certificates to legally grow 20 to 25
plants, but 95 is excessive for one person, said Price.

"Ninety-five [plants]... is well above personal consumption and most
of it would go bad before the person could smoke it," said Price.

Albert was unable to produce his Health Canada certificate at the time
of the seizure, and police are still unsure if he ever possessed one,
said Price.

In such a situation, police are unable to check with the government to
see if a person has a certificate because the information is protected
under privacy regulations, said Price.

Once marijuana plants are seized by police, they are placed in a
storage area for a few days before being destroyed. Price said the
storage area is not designed to preserve the plants, and they quickly
get mouldy.

There has been no internal investigation because Albert did not lodge
a complaint under the police act, said Price.

Saanich police had recommended charges of possession for the purpose
of trafficking against Albert at the time, but Price said prosecutors
have since decided not to approve those charges.
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