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Ottawa man acquitted of a majority of drug trafficking charges

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A man who was accused of masterminding a drug network that had ties to a Hell’s Angels group was acquitted of many of the charges against him. The 37 year old was arrested for drug trafficking in 2011 along with a dozen others for possession and trafficking of marijuana and cocaine as part of a criminal organization.

The arrest came about as the result of a year-long police investigation called “Project Finale.” This investigation involved wiretapping and surveillance and netted several arrests. The suspect’s 25-year-old stepson was also arrested and charged, but he pleaded guilty and received a sentence of just under five years for conspiracy charges as well as attempts to obstruct justice and possession of a handgun.

The suspect was found guilty, however, of possession of 958 grams of hashish for the purposes of trafficking. He was released from jail on a $10,000 bond after spending 17 months in custody and his sentencing date was set for late February. The suspect and his wife each posted $5,000 of the bond to secure his release.

Ultimately, while the justice said she thought there was a “strong possibility” of his participation in the drug ring, she noted that the prosecution had been unable to prove his involvement beyond a reasonable doubt. She described the majority of the evidence as “circumstantial.”

The use of circumstantial evidence can sometimes lead to a conviction, yet if a criminal defence attorney can show that there are viable, alternative explanations of the crime, the suspect may not be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and, thus, acquitted of the criminal charges.

Source: Ottawa Citizen, “Alleged Hell’s Angels drug ringleader found not guilty of most charges,” Chloe Fedio, Feb. 22, 2013

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