Regina v. R.M.M. [March 2017] – Arson – Manufacturing of Drugs

Section 433 of the Criminal Code of Canada – Arson – Section 7 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act-

The Calgary Police Service and Calgary Fire Department responded late one night to a an explosion and fire at R.M.M.’s residence.  The house was occupied by five other people, but only R.M.M. received injuries. The fire department was successful at putting out the fire, but not before significant damage was done.

After the fire was put out, the fire department and police searched the residence and found items consistent with the manufacturing of drugs; consequently, they contacted the Calgary Police Service clandestine drug manufacturing unit (drug lab expert investigators) to investigate. The police searched the entirety of the residence prior to obtaining a warrant, purportedly to ensure the safety of those inside. The police investigators and fire department determined that the explosion and the fire that followed was caused by the manufacturing of drugs. After gathering evidence from the residence, the police obtained and executed a search warrant on the house.  The police executed the search warrant and searched the residence a second time. Numerous controlled substances and drug manufacturing devices were seized.

The police searched the entirety of the residence prior to obtaining a warrant, purportedly to ensure the safety of those inside. The police investigators and fire department suspected that the explosion and the fire that followed was caused by the manufacturing of drugs. After gathering evidence from the residence, the police obtained a search warrant for the house.  The police executed the search warrant and searched the residence a second time. Numerous controlled substances and drug manufacturing devices were seized.

The police attended to the hospital where R.M.M. was in critical condition suffering from serious burns to a significant portion of his body. While R.M.M. was medicated and bound in a hospital bed the Calgary Police Service obtained a verbal statement.  Once R.M.M. was released from the hospital, he was charged with manufacturing and possession of a controlled substance, as well as arson. Sean Fagan brought a novel application challenging the validity of the warrant to search the residence. Prior to trial, the Crown conceded the strength of Sean Fagan’s argument and agreed to resolve the matter by way of a plea to simple possession, sparing R.M.M. a lengthy period of incarceration.