When police coordinate with other branches of law enforcement it is generally because of something quite serious. Whether it is because of violent crimes or the massive importing of drugs, various branches of law enforcement are under tremendous pressure to arrest, charge and help in the conviction of people. What this ultimately means, however, is individuals might get swept up who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Though most people in Markham would worry if they were arrested by police, they might not think too much about consequences if they were released shortly thereafter and never charged with anything. The problem is, however, that just because an individual has not been charged with a crime does not mean that he or she does not have a criminal record. Unfortunately, there are a number of people listed on the 420,000-person RCMP's Canadian Police Information Centre database who either have been charged with criminal activity but the charges have been dropped or those who have never been charged at all.
It may be a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but a dry cleaner is looking at a long wait before he can get his day in court on a handful of drug charges. Unfortunately for the Ontario dry cleaner, he has been wrapped up in the Rob Ford drug scandal, despite not knowing the mayor. The man's lawyer has said that his client will have to wait until April 2015 before he will be able to argue entrapment.
When security footage comes on the news, how often is it that anyone can actually make out a face clearly? The tapes are often blurry or pixelated, so it can be next to impossible to make a positive identification based off of security footage. And that is when a person is looking clearly at the security camera. If his or her face is turned away, it can be even more difficult.
For Jonas Valanciunas of Toronto Raptors fame, a delay in his case for drinking and driving may give him more time to defend his case. Yet should he be convicted of driving over 80 it could have very serious consequences for his career. There is, of course, no guarantee that he will be convicted, but the risk of conviction should be enough to cause significant concern.
Though the Canada Border Services Agency discovered a backpack with 11 packages of heroin in it nearly one month ago, it seems the Peel Regional Police are still looking for a suspect. Even if they manage to find a suspect, to actually arrest an individual and make a case requires considerable evidence. Even more is necessary to support a conviction.
Though we often mention the noncriminal consequences of a conviction, we generally must talk in the abstract because the stories are about people battling charges or who have just been convicted. This week's story is about a realtor from Brampton who was charged with breaking and entering and theft who faced some very concrete consequences from the charges. Ultimately, the Crown withdrew the charges nearly one year after first charging him.
For many people in the Greater Toronto Area, drugs and drug crimes are seen as something shameful done by individuals who have nothing better to do. What they often fail to realise, however, is that not everyone who uses drugs chose the lifestyle. Many drugs are highly addictive and some people may develop a dependency much more quickly than they could ever suspect, unwillingly pushing them into a risky lifestyle.
This blog often covers stories about individuals who are arrested on and charged with drug crimes, but that is not a monolithic charge -- there are many different charges that fall within the category of drug crimes. Sometimes even small differences in what police find in a raid is enough to enhance a charge. With drug penalties already quite high, having a sentence enhancement for something like being arrested with a weapon is certainly something to avoid.