Criminal Law - Controlled Drugs and Substances Act - Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking - Methamphetamine
The accused was charged with possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking contrary to s. 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), trafficking in methamphetamine contrary to s. 5(1) of the CDSA and having possession of property or proceeds of property valued at more than $5,000 knowing that the property was derived from trafficking, thereby committing an offence contrary to ss. 354(1) and 355(a) of the Criminal Code. During the trial, the court determined in a voir dire that the accused’s ss. 8 and 9 Charter rights had not been breached by the police and evidence relating to items located in the accused’s vehicle, following a search incidental to his arrest, was admissible at trial (see: 2020 SKQB 67). The police had been surveilling another individual, Bodkin, because they suspected he was involved in trafficking of methamphetamines and had seen him having 20 brief meetings with other individuals in his truck. Three of these meetings involved the accused. Prior to the last meeting, Bodkin was seen purchasing items at a Dollarama and after leaving the store, driving to another location where the accused was parked. He got into the accused’s vehicle. The police surrounded the vehicle soon thereafter and arrested both men. A search of the accused’s truck ensued and the police found a gym bag on the back seat floor containing two Ziploc bags, each containing more than 400 grams of methamphetamine and two bundles of cash totaling $17,700. Another Ziploc bag containing 5 grams of cannabis as well as two cell phones were located in the centre console. Police further found a Dollarama bag containing $20,400 in cash on the floor of the driver’s side and a green notebook. A police expert on drug trafficking testified that the large amount and value of the methamphetamine and the quantities of cash were consistent with high-level distributor to dealer trafficking. He suggested that the notebook was a dealer’s scoresheet. No evidence was tendered regarding the contents of the cell phones, and the notebook had a grocery list in it. The Crown’s evidence was uncontroverted. It argued that the appropriate inferences to be drawn from the facts were that the accused was in possession of the gym bag and was guilty of possession; his actions of either selling or transporting the drugs to Bodkin constituted trafficking; and the cash in his possession was derived from trafficking so that he was guilty of the third charge. The defence argued that there was a reasonable possibility that the accused was meeting with Bodkin to purchase marijuana and the gym bag and its contents and the plastic bag containing cash were Bodkin’s property.
HELD: The accused was found not guilty of all charges. The court reviewed the law pertaining to inferences regarding circumstantial evidence. It noted that Bodkin pled guilty to possession of methamphetamines subsequent to his arrest and after execution of search warrants of his properties had occurred. It found that there was no direct evidence from the police whether Bodkin entered the accused’s vehicle with the gym bag. It was possible that the gym bag, the methamphetamine and cash it contained as well as the Dollarama bag were brought into the truck by Bodkin in circumstances where the purpose of the meeting was for the accused to purchase marijuana from Bodkin.