After having previously been acquitted of drug charges in Abbotsford, pot activist Tim Felger doesn’t think he should have to undergo a new trial.
The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday granted an oral hearing for Felger to argue why an appeal should proceed on a decision made in January by the B.C. Court of Appeal, which set aside his 2012 acquittal.
A date for the oral hearing has not been set.
Felger was acquitted in December 2012 of seven charges – six counts of trafficking in marijuana and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking – that were laid in 2009 in relation to his former Da Kine store on Essendene Avenue in Abbotsford.
Felger’s lawyer had argued that police had trespassed on Felger’s property by ignoring signs he had posted that stated “no police officers allowed in the store without a warrant.”
Court documents indicated that undercover officers purchased marijuana inside the store on five separate days and also observed other people buying pot. They then used that information to get a search warrant and bust Felger in May 2009.
At Felger’s first trial, Justice Brian Joyce ruled that Felger’s charter rights had been breached and that evidence gathered at his store was not admissible in court, leading to all charges being thrown out.
Crown counsel appealed the acquittal, with the three judges on the B.C. Court of Appeal panel in agreement that although the charter provides a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” the sign did not entitle Felger to those privacy rights.
They overturned the acquittal and granted a new trial, which has been tentatively scheduled for next May.
The decision also resulted in a new trial for Felger’s co-accused Natasha Healy, who had been acquitted of three charges of trafficking in marijuana. She, too, has been granted an oral hearing in the Supreme Court of Canada.
Felger also went on trial for drug charges in Mission and had most of those charges thrown out in court in May 2013, because the judge ruled that his charter rights had been breached by police.
That matter is still before the courts, with a trial proceeding on adapted charges to reflect the judge’s ruling on the inadmissibility of some of the evidence.