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Judge dismisses drug charges because police broke down door

By Hempology | February 23, 2005

CHILLIWACK Charges of running a marijuana-growing operation in Mission have been thrown out by a B.C. Supreme Court judge because police got a bit hasty with their battering ram.

CanWest News Service

In a Jan. 20 oral decision released Tuesday, Justice B.M. Joyce dismissed charges against a husband and wife after finding the house search that turned up the evidence was unreasonable.
Li Qing Mai and her husband Zhi Wen Tang had been charged with unlawful production of marijuana, possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, and theft of electricity.
They asked the court to exclude the evidence the police found a modest size marijuana grow operation in the basement under a section of the Charter of Rights. Section 24 instructs courts to exclude evidence that is obtained in a way that infringes or denies any rights guaranteed under the charter.
The accused said the search breached their rights to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure.
The judge said that when police arrived at the home on Jan. 12, 2003, armed with a search warrant and a 41-kilogram battering ram, they knew they had to wait long enough for the occupants of the house to respond to their demand that the door be opened.
He said they had no reason to fear for their safety from the occupants, a husband and wife who turned out to be watching TV at the time. However, Joyce said, the police command to open the door was followed by the door being smashed open only a second or two

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