In January 2014, Nguyen Son Tran was pulled over and charged for running a red light. The officer on the scene then arrested Mr. Tran because they had spotted white powder (planted evidence) on his dashboard and a subsequent search of his vehicle revealed that Mr. Tran had a large amount of heroin in his car. At least that was their story.
In September, Mr. Tran had the charges against him withdrawn, while the investigating officers are facing charges for obstruction and perjury.
In his recent judgment, Justice Edward Morgan found that the police had made up the story about Mr. Tran running the red light and had planted the heroin residue on the dashboard to make their search seem legitimate. He categorized the actions of the officers as “misconduct…entirely beyond anything the courts can accept”. The heroin evidence was thrown out as fruit of the poisonous tree.
Writes Justice Morgan:
“The false creation of a pretext to search the defendant’s vehicle, combined with collusive fabrication of a story by the two lead Officers as to why they came to assist in the traffic stop of the defendant, certainly amounts to egregiously wrong conduct”
The four Toronto police officers all had several years on the force and were in good standing. They face a total of 17 charges. Their previous cases are now being probed.
Even in criminal defence you don’t often hear people claiming that the police planted evidence or fabricated evidence. But it does happen. The Toronto Star published a series in 2012 called “Police who Lie” . It detailed several examples of times that officers lied to obtain search warrants, provided false testimony, etc.
While this is not a common occurrence by any means, what these stories show is how important it is to have a criminal justice system that takes a critical look at the evidence that is being presented by police officers. Even more importantly, if you have been illegally searched or you feel that the evidence against you isn’t accurate, you should contact a lawyer who can fight for your case.
Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers
41 King William St. #200
Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005
Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005
Fax: 1 (905) 525-5716