Posession of Unstamped Tobacco Charges Defeated: David’s Case


Possession of Unstamped Tobacco contrary to Section 32 (1) of the Excise Act

BACKGROUND: the RCMP was notified by the Canadian Border Security Agency in the Cornwall area about a suspicious car. David was seated in the passenger seat of the car in a parking lot when two RCMP officers arrived and approached the car. While speaking with the man in the driver’s seat of the car, one RCMP officer noticed a blanket covering items on the floor of the backseat. The officers proceeded to search the vehicle and find 150,000 contraband cigarettes. David was arrested by the officers on site and charged with possession of unstamped tobacco.

Read the Summary of Police Allegations.

GOALS: I was hopeful that we could resolve this matter without David having a criminal record, or paying a very severe (nearly $40,000) fine.

STRATEGY: There were a lot of questions surrounding the behaviour of the officers during the search of the car and in David’s arrest. It was my opinion that David’s Charter Rights were violated.  I filed an application that sections 7, 8, 9, 10(a), 11(d) and 24(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been violated. I argued that:

  • The items found in the car, all statements made by David and the other accused, and observations by the police were found without probable and reasonable grounds and should be excluded as evidence;
  • Timothy was not given his proper Rights to Counsel by the police during the time of the arrest. The officers arrested my client “from memory” and, in my view, did not properly advise David that he had the right to contact counsel of his choice by telephone;
  • The detention of my client was unlawful;
  • Officers failed to properly inform my client of the reason for his arrest;
  • My client was put in touch with duty counsel by default;
  • There was no warrant for the search of the car; and
  • The vehicle was searched unreasonably

RESULTS: All charges in David’s case were withdrawn.