Location: Brampton Superior Court of Justice
Our client was intercepted by Canada Boarder Service Agents at Pearson Airport upon returning from Jamaica. The Boarder Service Agents found a small quantity of cocaine “Pellets” in her luggage. After conducting a strip search, more cocaine pellets were located in a special device in her vagina. After questioning her, CBSA learned that the accused had orally ingested further pellets. The accused was placed under arrest, for importing 330 grams of cocaine. The accused had no criminal record and was simply acting as a “mule” for drug dealers yet the crown was seeking a penitentiary sentence on a finding of guilt. This harsh position on sentence is backed up by the courts who have stated that they must impose harsh sentences, even for “mules”, to act as a deterrent to those thinking of importing drugs into Canada.
After RCMP took control of the accused, she began complaining that she did not feel well and was transported to hospital. At the hospital she was scanned where pellets were seen inside of her stomach. She questioned the doctor as to what may happen should one of the pellets burst and learned the implications could be severe. She asked if she could stay at the hospital until the pellets had passed and the doctor said he would admit her. Upon being informed of her admission to hospital, the RCMP officers informed her that while there was a “super loo” at the police station that would wash her feces to locate the pellets, if she stayed at the hospital she would need to use a bed pan to sort through her own feces, as they were unwilling to do this on her behalf. Afraid for her health, our client agreed and subsequently spent a day and a half being forced to go through her own feces while police were in the room observing.
At the preliminary hearing the officers provided a very different version of events in their examination in chief. Through the use of the officers notes, and with skillful cross examination, defence counsel was able to have the officers commit to very damaging testimony giving rise to a strong Section 7 charter argument in relation to tour client having to endure the humiliation that she experienced at the hospital. After the preliminary hearing, there was a Judicial Pre-Trial where defence counsel expressed their intention of bringing a Section 7 application to have the charges stayed. The Application was scheduled for 3 full days, with a 5 day trial to follow.
Once transcripts of the preliminary hearing were ordered, discussions continued with the office of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, whereby they eventually agreed to stay the charges against our client. Our client was thrilled to avoid a penitentiary sentence as well as a criminal record. Also, as the accused has extensive family in the United States, this was a very important result for her as a serious criminal record of this nature would have impeded her ability to see her family.