Criminal Law – Controlled Drugs and Substances Act – Possession for the Purposes of Trafficking - Cocaine
The accused was charged with possession of MDMA contrary to s. 4 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and possession of cocaine for the purposes of trafficking contrary to s. 5(2) of the Act. He pled guilty to the first charge and not guilty to the second charge, admitting that he possessed 10.6 grams of cocaine, but not for the purpose of trafficking. The RCMP had obtained a search warrant to search the accused’s residence. They found the cocaine in a safe. It had been packaged in 16 individual grams. Each gram had been placed in the corner of a baggie that had been cut off and then twisted. Various items of drug paraphernalia were also located, such a scale, a grinder, packaging materials and five cell phones. The Crown called an expert witness, an RCMP officer, who provided opinion evidence regarding the methods related to the trafficking of cocaine. He testified that it was typical for dealers to hide the drug in a safe and that the quantity of cocaine found in this case was more than a typical user would usually buy and use. The method of packaging of the cocaine in baggy corners was also typical of trafficking for resale to users and the presence of the scale in the residence was also consistent with trafficking. The expert also testified as to the meaning of text messages found on one of the cell phones and stated that the conversations indicated that accused was being educated by his supplier as to how to traffic, what price to sell the drugs at, the profit, and other related matters. The accused had never been seen selling drugs, nor had any activity characteristic of drug dealing been noticed at his residence. Although the evidence was circumstantial, the Crown submitted that the whole of it should lead the court to conclude that the accused possessed the cocaine for the purposes of trafficking and that no other reasonable inference could be drawn.
HELD: The accused was found guilty of the charge. The court found that the text messages, viewed in the context of the other evidence, left no doubt that the only reasonable inference that could be drawn was that the cocaine was possessed by the accused for the purposes of trafficking.