An unjustified traffic stop by Calgary Police in Royal Oak leads to trafficking charges
OFFENCE: Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking
RESULT: Charges stayed
DEFENCE LAWYER: Sean Fagan
REGINA v. I.S. – June 2018
CHARGES: Sections 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act x 2
Two officers of the Calgary Police Service (“CPS”) were on patrol in Royal Oak, a Northwest Neighborhood in Calgary. During the course of their patrols, they observed a vehicle parked curbside, that turned off its lights as the CPS patrol car approached. The officers believed this to be suspicious, and at the next intersection, turned around to go investigate the vehicle.
When the officers backtracked, the suspicious vehicle had driven away. The officers ultimately caught up to the vehicle, which was driving safely and properly. The officers executed a traffic stop on the suspicious vehicle for a “non-visible license plate”. The license plate was covered in snow, and likely every other vehicle on the road had the same problem, given that was 2 feet of fresh snow on the ground. It is easy to infer that the police officers’ real reason for pulling the vehicle over wasn’t the license plate, and was in fact their mere suspicion.
Once they pulled the vehicle over, they engaged the occupants of the vehicle in conversation – Asian and Middle Eastern men which computer databases indicated had a history of drug trafficking. They questioned the men regarding their reasons for being in Royal Oak, and when they got answers, they didn’t’ think that their story added up. While questioning the occupants of the vehicle they observed a pill bottle in plain view in the glove compartment. The officers demanded that I.S. hand over the pill bottle, which I.S., uncomfortable with the request given that illegal substances were contained in the bottle, hesitantly handed over to the officers.
Once the officers realized that the pill bottle contained controlled substances, they demanded numerous other items in the vehicle be handed over. When I.S. refused, the officers arrested everyone in the vehicle. I.S. was ultimately charged with numerous possession for the purpose of trafficking offences, along with proceeds of crime.
When defending drug trafficking charges, it is important to retain a criminal lawyer who is experienced in successfully defending drug charges. Successfully defending drug charges requires a keen eye for avenues of defence. Often, drug prosecutions appear like slam-dunk losers to a lawyer who is NOT experienced in drug prosecutions, only for a lawyer who IS experienced in drug prosecutions to reveal viable avenues of defence that are worth arguing. It is important that every person accused of a drug offence get an opinion from a lawyer experienced in defending these charges.
I.S. realized the aforementioned dynamics of defending drug charges and fired his lawyer and retained criminal lawyer Sean Fagan. On the day of trial, Sean Fagan was successful at successfully securing a stay of proceedings on all charges that I.S. faced.