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Judge throws out drug charges after York police violate man's Charter rights

When police officers violate one person's Charter rights, everyone's constitutional rights are threatened. Still, improper police conduct happens more often than you might think.

Recently, a Superior Court justice ruled that York Regional Police officers violated a man's Charter rights in a number of ways, and that the drug charges against him should be dropped. In the ruling, the judge characterized the police officers' actions as a "catastrophe."

The case dates back to 2010 when police investigators asked a traffic officer to stop a man's vehicle because he was suspected of carrying drugs in his car. The investigators reportedly believed that if they tried stopping the vehicle, then the investigation would be disrupted. According to the Superior Court judge, the traffic officer was asked to make up an excuse to stop the man and try to obtain his consent to search the vehicle.

The judge found that the man was arbitrarily pulled over; he was never informed that he had been stopped on suspicion of a drug offence; police lied to him; and he was not advised of his right to retain a lawyer.

The man reportedly gave his consent to be patted down by the traffic officer, but no consent was given to search the vehicle.

More police officers eventually arrived at the scene, and while six of them were holding him down, a number of the man's ribs were broken.

The evidence seized by police led to charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking ketamine, conspiracy to traffic in ketamine, and trafficking in cocaine, but the judge stayed those charges after considering the police misconduct.

If you have been accused of a drug offence after a police search, then do not hesitate to speak with a criminal defence lawyer. A single mistake in police procedure could result in the case being dropped, and an experienced lawyer can analyze the evidence against you to build a strong defence.