Aug 20, 2019

Summary of R v Johnson

R v Johnson, 2019 SKPC 18 (CanLII)
Criminal Law – Controlled Drugs and Substances Act – Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking – Methamphetamine
The accused was charged with possession of methamphetamine and cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, breach of a recognizance by being outside of Alberta, possession of an identity document relating to another person, possession of a machete for a purpose dangerous to the public peace and possession of ammunition while prohibited by a s. 109 order. The charges arose out of a police stop of the vehicle the accused was driving. The officer searched her name and ascertained she was on a recognizance issued in Alberta that she was not to leave the province without the prior written permission of her probation officer. He placed her under arrest and moved her to the police cruiser. The passenger in the vehicle was then questioned and, as he seemed intoxicated and agitated, he too was moved to the police cruiser. The vehicle was searched and a significant volume of drugs in a bag was found in the front of the driver’s seat. Inside the accused’s purse, the police found a notebook and $800 in cash. The Certificate of Analyses confirmed that the drugs were methamphetamine and cocaine. An expert witness testified that the quantity and packaging indicated that the drugs were for resale and trafficking and that the notebook was a score sheet or drug ledger. The accused testified that she had used methamphetamine for 10 years and was an addict. The passenger in the vehicle was a friend of hers who often stayed at her house in Edmonton and together they would use meth that he brought with him. Before the alleged offence, he had been at her residence when she learned that her grandmother in Manitoba was very ill and he offered to drive her there. She withdrew $900, representing her recent social assistance payment, from her bank account to pay for trip expenses. While they were returning from the visit, the accused took the wheel because her friend kept falling asleep while he was driving. When the police pulled her over, she wakened him and he started throwing things from the console in the front seat into her purse. She knew nothing about the drugs in the bag, nor the notebook in her purse or the weapons. During her cross-examination the accused testified that she didn’t know how her friend made his living and how he could afford drugs. She agreed that the fact that her friend often drove around Alberta and beyond was consistent with him being a mule.
HELD: The accused was found guilty of possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking and of breaching the recognizance and possession of false identification and not guilty of all other charges. The court was unable to find beyond a reasonable doubt that that the accused knew that there were drugs or weapons in the vehicle. However, it was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that that she was willfully blind with respect to her friend’s possession of crystal methamphetamine and should be convicted on the charge of possession of it for the purpose of trafficking.