Jun 28, 2017

Summary of R. v April

R. v April, 2017 SKPC 42 (CanLII)
Criminal Law – Controlled Drugs and Substances – Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking – Methamphetamine
The accused was charged with possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, for the purpose of trafficking under s. 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Under a warrant, the police searched the residence into which the accused had moved just one day earlier. All of the entrances to the residence were barricaded with metal bars that could only be unlocked from the inside. The police found the accused and another person in the kitchen. The accused had $1,074 in his wallet. Items such as cell phones, score sheets, plastic baggies and digital scales were nearby in plain view. Behind a baseboard in the basement, the police found plastic bags containing over 50 grams of methamphetamine. The Crown called an expert witness regarding the packaging, distribution and pricing of the drug, and he testified that drug traffickers often barricade the buildings in which they store their drug supplies. The quantity of drugs found in the search and the other items found indicated that the drug was possessed for the purpose of trafficking. He could not confirm that the cash found on the accused’s person was proceeds from crime because it was not a large amount nor was it bundled. The Crown argued that the accused was in constructive or joint possession of the drugs found in the residence because there was no evidence that the accused was in personal possession. The issues were as follows: 1)whether the accused had the requisite knowledge to find him in possession of the drugs; and 2) if so, whether he had the requisite element of control necessary to find him in possession of the drugs as required by s. 4(3) of The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
HELD: The accused was acquitted. The court found that the accused was in possession because he had the requisite element of knowledge. The drug paraphernalia led to the inference that he knew or was willfully blind to the presence of drugs in the residence. However, the court found that the accused did not have the requisite element of control necessary to find him in possession since he was not the only occupant of the house.