R v D G & B (2015)
- Clayton Rice, K.C.
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 The Crown Attorney was eventually left holding the bag when all charges were withdrawn on the trial date.