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A Twisted Tale of Justice: Ted Smiths Trials to Begin Soon

By Ted | March 27, 2004

By Ted Smith

International Hempology 101 Society

A complex series of pre-trial arguments has led to a peculiar arrangement for the trials facing Leon “Ted” Smith, which are now scheduled to begin on May 26.
Ted was first arrested on November 8, 2000 at the University of Victoria sharing a small number of joints with students, and one week later on
November 15, 2000, before the annual cannabis cookie give-away on International Medical Marijuana Day. However, the first trial he could face in court
may be from the charges stemming from the first police incursion at the Cannabis Buyers’ Clubs of Canada, a medical cannabis provider with a storefront in
Victoria, which occurred on January 3, 2002. The developments in preliminary hearings have seemed much like a chess game at times, with the outcome potentially
having an impact across the country.

The current order of the trials is now completely different than the actual chronological order of the arrests. It started when Ted was arrested sharing
joints at the University of Victoria on November 8, 2000 and just before a pot cookie giveaway on November 15, 2000. His lawyer entered a not guilty plea with
the inclusion of several constitutional arguments against the prohibition laws. After accepting the plea, Administrative Judge Smith forced the proceedings into
his private chambers where he told Robert Moore-Stewart that the Constitutional Question Notice would be held first and separate from the criminal trials. This
unfair process violates Section 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it is more difficult to prove the police and the state have acted
irrationally, applying the law arbitrarily and punishing select individuals in a manner that is grossly disproportionate considering current social norms,
without the evidence of police behavior from the criminal trials being introduced into court.

Now, after years of delays with the Constitutional Question Hearing, the crown wants to proceed with the criminal trials, primarily because the Supreme Court of
Canada recently considered whether the law violates the harm principle, which is dealt with in Section 7 of the Charter. While the harm principle argument alone
failed, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court acknowledged that constitutional issues around whether the law is rational, arbitrary or grossly disproportionate have
not yet been explored.

While waiting for the Supreme Court, Ted was arrested with Colby Budda at the Cannabis Buyers’ Clubs of Canada on January 3, 2002 and then he was singled out with a warrant a few
months later on March 21, 2002. In fact, the Cannabis Buyers’ Clubs have survived five police raids at their storefront in Victoria, though Ted was only
arrested in the first
two, leaving the group over $30,000 in debt. The last raid was February 19, 2003 and that trial should occur on May 5 and 6.

After agreeing with the Crown Prosecutor in January of this year that it would be the most efficient use of court resource if the Constitutional Question Hearings
were held at the conclusion of the criminal trials, we persuaded Administrative Judge Smith to change the process that had allowed for a three-year delay.
Originally when the four trial dates were set not enough time was granted for all of the witness, police, expert witnesses, and constitutional questions from the
first arrest. A scheduling problem with a police officer made the Crown ask that the January 3 trial is held before the cookie trial. Therefore, when we asked
for a delay of the UVic trial, which has been put off until September 29 and 30, without delaying any of the other three, it changed the order of trials around

There are many reasons why it seems advantageous to have the January 3 trial first, primarily because the courts have strongly supported the medical use of
cannabis (see Cannabis Digest issue #1, Hitzig decision). No one can be convicted of an unconstitutional law and there could be no more clear an example of
an irrational and harmful law than those prohibiting the use and distribution of cannabis to the incurably ill.

Also, Ted was told by the Victoria police to get a store in the first place and that is why he was not initially charged when the raid occurred.
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