Top court backs police in seizure of property

They can take proceeds of crime even if charges aren't laid, judges rule
Apr 22, 2009 04:30 AM
Gail Swainson

Canada's top court has upheld an Ontario law that allows police to seize money and property as proceeds of crime even when the owner hasn't been convicted or even charged with an offence.

The Supreme Court ruled last week that almost $30,000 in cash, plus a light ballast and exhaust fan of the type used in marijuana grow-ops, do not have to be returned to Robin Chatterjee of Thornhill.

The cash and items were seized by York Region police during a 2003 traffic stop but officers found no drugs and lacked enough evidence to charge Chatterjee with a crime.

Chatterjee's lawyer, James Diamond, said the top court found the Civil Remedies Act, passed in 2002, correctly allows such seizures when there is a "balance of probabilities" an offence has been committed.

That's a lower standard than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" demanded by criminal courts.

"The effect is to brand someone who has never even been charged with criminal activity," Diamond said in an interview yesterday.

He had argued that the act violates a citizen's constitutionally guaranteed presumption of innocence.

But, in their 7-0 decision, Justices Beverley McLachlin, Ian Binnie, Louis LeBel, Marie Deschamps, Morris Fish, Rosalie Abella and Marshall Rothstein ruled that the seizure provisions are constitutional.

"The evident purposes of the CRA are to make crime in general unprofitable and to deter its present and would-be perpetrators," the decision states. "These are valid provincial objectives."

Court documents state that York officers stopped Chatterjee's car in March 2003 for not having a front licence plate. He was arrested for breach of probation.

Police searched his vehicle and found the cash and gear. Officers said they also smelled marijuana but no drugs were found or any charges laid, according to the 29-page ruling.

The province was granted a seizure order in 2006 by Ontario's Superior Court of Justice, a decision appealed by Chatterjee to Canada's top court.




Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre


Supreme Court Politically Correct Madness


The Supreme Court failed, miserably and with deliberate blindness to consider what is called "the prejudice" and also failed to consider "motivations". Now Police have an open invitation and encouragement by the government to use any excuse to find "on the balance of probabilities" - that is a simply a politically correct view that requires an "impartial tribunal" to decide, and the police are hardly "impartial", they are given all sorts of encouragement to "fight crime" by 'seizing property". In the United States, you don't want to carry any significant amount of cash with you or run the risk of having it all seized simply on a police officer's biased view that is the proceeds of crime, without ever the matter being decided in a Criminal Court, not a civil court. This new decision allows police to convict criminals using an unacceptable lower standard of evidence.

Submitted by ottawamenscentre at 9:32 AM Wednesday, April 22 2009




Increasingly, politically correct judges have been appointed to the point that the entire judiciary is riddled with the cancer of politically correct decisions absent the core values and foundation of the most basic principles of law. The most basic principle in law is to weigh the prejudice against the probabitve value. The supreme court dismisses the majority of appeals "without reason" which is the ultimate symptom of absolute arrogance and contempt for society.