Judge allows evidence in guns and drug trial

A Supreme Court judge has dismissed an application to exclude evidence that an Abbotsford man claimed police obtained while breaching his rights during an arrest.

A Supreme Court judge has dismissed an application to exclude evidence that an Abbotsford man claimed police obtained while breaching his rights during an arrest.

Justice Neill Brown ruled on the application from Jason Warrick Purchase, 37, on Monday in Chilliwack Supreme Court.

Purchase has been on trial on nine weapons and drug charges. He and six other occupants of a home on Sumas Mountain Road were arrested May 9, 2007 after police responded to a 911 call.

The caller said her brother had contacted her and said he was being threatened by someone with a gun at that property, according to the judge’s reason for judgment on voir dire (a trial within a trial).

She then lost contact with him and called 911.

Police were dispatched to the scene and contained the area. Purchase came out of the house first and the other six exited after police issued a “call out.” They then conducted a search to see if anyone else was still in the house, according to police testimony during the voir dire. During the search, they came across boxes of ammunition, a handgun, 11 improperly stored rifles, and marijuana plants that were being grown and harvested, the documents state.

Later that evening, police obtained a search warrant for the home, in which Purchase was a resident.

Purchase sought the exclusion of all statements made before his arrest, all evidence accumulated during the first search and the subsequent warranted search, and evidence of his identification after his arrest. He said his charter rights were violated because there was no warrant for the first search and it was illegal. All information gathered from it should be inadmissible, his lawyer argued, meaning the warranted search also would have been invalid.

The judge ruled that police were justified in searching the residence after the occupants had exited the home. Although police had reported smelling marijuana in the vicinity, their reasons for searching the home were because of safety concerns related to the 911 call and not because they were looking for drugs, he said.

He said that none of the evidence should be excluded from Purchase’s judge-only trial.

The matter continues in Chilliwack Supreme Court on July 25.