Mr. Rice has defended clients charged in a broad range of cases including conspiracy, drug trafficking, fraud, money laundering, criminal organization offences, homicide and regulatory offences. The cases discussed here have been selected as representative of Mr. Rice’s practice and experience over the last twenty years. They include jury trials, judge alone trials and cases where it was in the client’s best interests to negotiate a resolution by way of a guilty plea to reduced charges or applications to the courts for a special disposition. The cases also include a selection of complex court applications for remedies under the Charter of Rights involving unreasonable search and seizure, the right to counsel and evidence suppression motions.
The Calgary media reported that ninety-five shootings occurred in the city in 2015 – twice as many as in 2014 – and police investigators said that half the incidents were related to organized crime. Fifteen people were killed in those shootings. The police believe that the violence erupted in a conflict between two groups involved in the drug trade. Then, on May 3, 2016, Calgary police commenced a string of arrests that concluded over the following week when search warrants were executed at three city residences. Eight men were arrested. A has been jointly charged with various other defendants in a direct Indictment alleging multiple counts of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and criminal organization offences. The lengthy investigation included the implementation of three wiretap authorizations during the fall of 2015 that identified eight targets. The police suspect there are more sides to the gang war that requires the use of ongoing labour intensive techniques. A date for pretrial motions has been scheduled in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Calgary.
Mr. Rice has been retained by J in this case involving two homicide investigations in Alberta and British Columbia. On July 20, 2014, D was walking in a commercial neighbourhood in Edmonton with some friends when he encountered a group of males. A verbal exchange turned fatal when D was shot. On October 2, 2014, over three months later, P was found dead in a house in Richmond, B.C. which the RCMP believed had ties to the Edmonton investigation. With the aid of an informant wearing a wire, and two other wiretap authorizations in Alberta and British Columbia, the police allege that the homicide investigations eventually led to evidence of other shootings and home invasions. On March 28, 2015, J was charged with over fifty offences arising out of the Alberta homicide investigation. The case raises unusual complications arising from the extra-provincial implementation of a wiretap authorization under s. 188.1 of the Criminal Code. Pretrial trial motions have been scheduled in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Edmonton.
A police officer received information from a confidential informant that P and V were trafficking cocaine and the drugs were stored at the residence of P’s relatives. The police set up surveillance and obtained a tracking warrant to install a GPS device on P’s vehicle. P and V were seen at three different residences and followed to other areas of the city. The police believed the trips were to conclude drug deals. Based on the surveillance and informant information the police obtained three search warrants for the residences. When the police arrived at the residences to execute the warrants V was seen leaving one of them with a red shopping bag. He drove to another residence and went in with the bag. The police then entered and P was found sitting in the living room next to a red bag that contained cocaine and heroin. A pretrial challenge to the admissibility of the evidence obtained by execution of the search warrants will be brought.
A school bus driver spotted a frozen body near the side of a rural road in central Alberta and called the police. The deceased died from multiple stab wounds and was reported missing. W was arrested the next day driving the deceased’s truck in a city south of the scene. He was with a group of drinking companions. Witnesses who were with W the night before the body was found all said he was drinking heavily. Mr. Rice retained a forensic psychologist who concluded that W was incapable of forming the specific intent to commit murder due to alcohol consumption. Based on the anticipated eye witness testimony, and the expert opinion of the psychologist, the Crown Attorney accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter on the morning of jury selection. The case was adjourned for the preparation of briefs and a pre-sentence report. The sentence hearing has been scheduled in 2017.
Mr. Rice has been retained by one of twelve defendants who were arrested following an investigation by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) and Calgary police. The police executed seven search warrants that resulted in the seizure of cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin valued at $5M. The investigation also consisted of a wiretap component that targeted specific suspects in the investigation. A total of 66 charges were laid including conspiracy, drug trafficking and organized crime offences. The police also seized property including luxury automobiles that is the subject of civil forfeiture proceedings. The police allege that a high level group was operating a sophisticated drug network throughout Calgary and other locations in Alberta. Investigators were quoted in the media as stating that the defendants include manufacturers, suppliers and street level traffickers. A trial date has been set for 2017 in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Calgary.