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Due to the questionable testimony of the “road boss” of a police crew, an Ontario Superior Court Justice recently acquitted a man who was suspected of possessing 60 grams of illegal substances. The man was charged with possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of drug trafficking.
The judge felt uncomfortable with the police officer’s testimony due to inconsistencies between his account and other evidence in the case against the 27-year-old Ontario man, whose home was raided in March 2010 without a warrant. He was also concerned with potential constitutional violations as the six-person police crew entered the home without a search warrant after reportedly receiving a tip. According to the officer, the crew entered the premises on the theory that it needed to be secured prior to obtaining a warrant. The officer then testified that upon entering, he saw the suspect with his arm extended out the window. Police later seized drugs outside of the window.
In particular, the judge was concerned because the officer testified to two different stories. First, he stated that he exited the narrow window with his bullet-proof vest, baton and other bulky items still on in order to retrieve the drugs. He later testified that he had removed these items prior to squeezing out the window. Additionally, the officer testified that the window was closed while another officer testified that it was open. Although the judge believed the accused man’s actions were perhaps “suspicious,” he ultimately felt too uncomfortable about the officer’s inconsistent testimony under oath to allow the charges to stand.
This story exemplifies how unsound or inconsistent testimony can substantially weaken the prosecution’s case. For individuals who are facing serious charges, a skilled Ontario lawyer who handles criminal defence cases may evaluate the circumstances under which search and seizures were performed as well as evaluate whether any aspect of the prosecution’s case is dubious.
Source: The Toronto Star, “Judge acquits drug suspect over police inconsistencies,” Peter Small, 21 March 2013