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R v S & W (2008)

  • Clayton Rice, K.C.

The police received an informant’s tip that S was staying in a Medicine Hat hotel and that he was in town to close a drug deal. They obtained guest registration information from the hotel management and then applied for a general warrant to conduct a surreptitious entry. That kind of general warrant is called a “sneak ‘n peak” warrant. The police found cocaine in a suitcase, set up surveillance and waited. S returned and entered the room. The police then knocked on the door. W answered and both defendants were arrested. W retained Mr Rice. The defendants elected for trial by a judge of the Provincial Court of Alberta. The Crown Attorney argued that both men were in joint possession of the cocaine. Mr Rice argued on behalf of W that one of the questions not answered in the evidence was: Who had the key to the room? The trial judge concluded that there was a reasonable doubt whether W was in control of the room and he was therefore found not guilty on both charges.

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