Oct 3, 2018

Summary of R v Prokopchuk

R v Prokopchuk, 2018 SKQB 184 (CanLII)
Criminal Law – Controlled Drugs and Substances Act – Possession for the Purposes of Trafficking – Methamphetamines
The accused was charged with one count of possession of methamphetamines contrary to s. 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The charge was brought after the police had conducted a surveillance operation involving a suspected drug trafficker, S.A. S.A. regularly drove his vehicle to a mobile home that the police believed was his stash house. The police did not see S.A. enter the trailer, but there was video footage showing him doing so. They determined that the accused lived in the trailer, but he was never seen in the company of S.A. at the trailer or elsewhere. In an agreed statement of facts, the accused admitted that he knew S.A. and that he had visited the trailer once and was alone in part of it when the accused was getting dressed. He did not know S.A. was a drug dealer. The police obtained a search warrant for the accused’s trailer and searched when he was not present. They discovered both a hidden key and a safe in a pantry. When opened, the safe was found to contain a kilogram of meth worth $25,000 to $30,000. The safe also contained some packaging materials and a digital scale. No score sheets, cash or cell phones were discovered in the trailer and the police drug expert agreed that repackaging materials, cutting agents and scales are often kept in the same location as the drugs and repackaging is done there. The day after the search, S.A. was arrested. The accused testified that he knew nothing about the safe, the key or any drugs. He never used or sold meth or helped anyone to sell meth or any drugs. He often left his door unlocked and there was a spare key hanging near the cupboard where the safe was found. He claimed that someone entered his house and hid the safe, its key and the drugs without his knowledge.
HELD: The accused was found not guilty. The court found that the Crown had not proven the case against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. In particular, the Crown had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was in constructive possession under s. 4(3) of the Criminal Code because the element of knowledge had not been proven.