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Pot activist?s charter rights ?violated?

By Hempology | January 14, 2005

BY RICHARD WATTS Times Colonist staff

At a Jan. 8, 2002, rally at the University of Victoria where he spoke to about 40 people about marijuana, its benefits and his objections to the law prohibiting it. He then lit up several joints and passed them out to the crowd.

After the rally, plain-clothes officers who had stood in the crowd moved in and arrested Smith.
Moore-Stewart said the Crown was unfairly escalating the charge. Smith merely shared some marijuana joints. He made no money. Normally he would face a charge of simple possession not trafficking in a controlled substance.
Under the Canadian Criminal Code, possession carries a maxium penalty of seven years in prison. Trafficking carries a maximum of life.
?What the Crown is asking the court to do is super-criminalize Mr. Smith,? said Moore Stewart.
Prosecutor Richard Fowler said Smith was observed distributing a controlled substance. Even if it was a gift and he received no money that still constitutes trafficking.
Fowler also said it is no less a crime because the marijuana was distributed at a political rally. Smith?s rights to freedom of thought and assembly don?t provide him the right to break the law. ?The charter is not there to protect any illegal activity just because it?s performed in public,? said Fowler.
And he said police didn?t target Smith but investigated a complaint.
They observed, waited until the crowd had dispersed and took action.
?There is just no truth to the suggestion that this was a planned attack on Mr. Smith,? said Fowler.
Marijuana champion Ted Smith is the victim of discrimination because he is a pot smoker and a political activist, a provincial court judge heard Tuesday.
Defence counsel Robert Moore-Stewart argued police and the Crown are violating Smith?s rights to equality guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
?He is being discriminated against as a cannabis user and a political activist,? said Moore-Stewart.
Smith, 35, is facing a charge of trafficking in marijuana. His trial wrapped up Tuesday. A verdict is scheduled to be handed down Jan. 20. Smith is charged in connection with a Nov.

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