Criminal Law – Controlled Drugs and Substances Act – Possession of Drugs for the Purpose of Trafficking
The four accused were jointly charged with: 1) having in his possession cocaine for the purpose of trafficking contrary to s. 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; and 2) having in his possession property (more than $5,000 cash), which was obtained by commission of an offence, contrary to s. 354(1) and 355(a) of the Criminal Code. The accused Thompson was also charged with trafficking in cocaine contrary to s. 5(1) of the Act. Two of the accused had raised Charter issues before the trial and a voir dire was held (see: 2013 SKPC 192). All the evidence on the voir dire was applied to the trial and all four accused elected to call not evidence at trial. All of the accused had been under surveillance for one day or so by the police who had set up a complex drug sting. As a result of arrests and search warrants, the police found two of the accused in a motel room. In the room, there were bags containing 8 oz. of cocaine as well as paraphernalia associated with drug preparation and sale. As a result of a search of a house, the police found about $15,000 in cash and documents relating to a number of the accused. The evidence presented to the Court was circumstantial. The accused Thompson had been seen with the other accused in a restaurant. He was seen entering the motel that was under surveillance with the other accused. He rented a car with one of the accused. He was observed making frequent stops, which were for the alleged purpose of trafficking. After being stopped by the police, a set of keys were taken from him. A small of amount of cocaine was discovered in his wallet. The keys included the car’s keys and additional ones that the officer stated looked like house keys. Later, a set of keys were taken from another accused, which included a key to the house where the police had found the cash. The keys from the two accused were mixed up by the police inadvertently so that the Crown was unable to establish from whom the keys were seized.
HELD: The Court dealt with each accused separately and convicted and/or acquitted them individually. In the case of Thompson, the Court held that it was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the keys to the room where the drugs were kept and the house where the cash was kept were taken from him. He was acquitted of all the charges against him. The accused Durrant, who had been found in the motel room, was convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking but acquitted on the charge of possession of proceeds of crime. The accused Aden was convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime on the basis of documents identifying him as the person who rented the house in which the drugs were kept, a key to the motel room in his possession and because he had been seen carrying a bag that was later found in the motel room and contained cocaine and paraphernalia.