Mr. Rice has been retained by one of the three defendants in this homicide case involving charges of second degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of an indictable offence and assault with a weapon. A motor vehicle with five occupants pulled into a strip mall at night and stopped in a secluded parking lot. D was in the backseat with his girlfriend. Another girl was in the front passenger seat. Two masked men armed with handguns and carrying baseball bats got out of a vehicle that stopped behind them. The girl in the front fled when the masked men closed in, opened the driver’s side rear door and began assaulting D with the bats. D was then fatally shot in the chest. The vehicle sped away from the scene to a condominium parking lot where D’s body was dropped on the pavement near a garbage bin shelter. The vehicle then disappeared into the night. The media reported that the shooting was fuelled by a drug debt. A date for a preliminary inquiry has not been set.
The police had a motel under surveillance. They were on the look out for P armed with a Canada wide arrest warrant. Four men left a suite around midnight and ran to a waiting vehicle. One of the men matched P’s description based on clothing and general appearance. The police stopped the vehicle. But P was not in it. The police saw a bag sticking out from under the front passenger seat. They searched the vehicle without a warrant and seized the bag that contained over half a kilogram of cocaine, oxycodone and marihuana. They also seized a large quality of cash from B who was Mr. Rice’s client. All three men were charged with possession of the drugs for the purpose of trafficking. B was also charged with possessing the proceeds of crime. The defendants did not assert a privacy interest in the vehicle and did not challenge the lawfulness of the search and seizure under s. 8 of the Charter of Rights. The Crown Attorney, however, had a formidable task to prove possession. Who knew the drugs were under the seat? Not even the driver could be tagged with constructive knowledge. He was not the registered owner of the vehicle. And there were no fingerprints on the bag to establish manual handling and a measure of control. The Crown Attorney was eventually left holding the bag when all charges were withdrawn on the trial date.
Three assailants burst through the back door of M’s apartment and assaulted him using pepper spray and a knife. M sustained a head injury and multiple cuts and bruises. The assailants made off with various pieces of electronics. M told the police that the beating was over a drug debt and they should know one of the assailants as he had been arrested a couple of days previously. He fingered B who was arrested again a week later in an unrelated investigation. B was charged with robbery and assault with a weapon. The police seized a surveillance video on the same night as the break-in from a nearly convenience store showing B wearing a different coloured shirt. The police also did a data base search of police records and found the report of B’s previous arrest just as M said there would be. Then the state’s case went down hill. M picked out two men from a photo lineup saying a photograph of B could be one of his attackers. And about a month later M was accosted on the street by the man he owed money to. He knew the man was not B because he had been denied bail and was in custody at a remand centre. Mr. Rice brought a bail review application armed with the new information. The bail justice commented in the ruling that based on the evidence as a whole no reasonable jury could convict. B was granted bail and the prosecutor later withdrew the charges on the trial date.
The two defendants were charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a handgun without a licence. The police had the defendants’ apartment building under surveillance as a result of a related investigation. They saw R leave the building carrying a duffle bag and enter a taxi cab. The police stopped the cab and demanded that R provide his name and identification. R told the police his name. When he said he did not have identification on him the police searched the duffle bag and found the cocaine. R said the defendants gave him the bag and told him they would pick it up later. The police arrested R and found the handgun when the duffle bag was searched again at the police station. Mr. Rice brought a pretrial motion to exclude the cocaine and handgun from evidence based upon a breach of his client’s reasonable expectation of privacy under s. 8 of the Charter of Rights. The initial detention of R at the taxi cab was arbitrary and the search of the duffle bag was not incidental to a lawful arrest as R was not under arrest when the bag was searched. The second search at the police station was tainted as derivative of the first search at the taxi cab. The Crown Attorney then stayed all charges.
The defendant was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault when Q was shot outside a downtown Edmonton nightclub. Q had left the club and walked into the parking lot after an altercation inside with the defendant. A gun shot rang out from the rear passenger window of a car in the parking lot. Q was struck in the head and the vehicle sped away from the scene. During the trial, Q testified that he saw “a glimpse” of the defendant in the back seat and he recognized the defendant’s voice when he called Q’s name just before the shooting. M, the driver, testified that the defendant got into the back seat of his car with another man. He said he saw the defendant lean out of the rear window with his arm “wrapped in a sweater” and then he heard a “pop”. Under cross-examination by Mr. Rice, Q admitted that he told the police he could not recognize the man’s voice and M admitted that he lied to the police when he told them repeatedly that the shooter was a drug dealer named “Suk”. In his closing address to the jury, Mr. Rice argued that M was an admitted liar and that Q was not a reliable witness because of his prior inconsistent statement to the police. The jury returned verdicts of not guilty on both counts.