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Planted Evidence results in Charges Withdrawn

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 Tran had the charges against him withdrawn, while the investigating officers are facing charges for obstruction and perjury.

Planted Evidence

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.

Police guilty of planted evidence - charges withdrawn

Police guilty of planted evidence – charges withdrawn


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
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Hamilton, ON
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Police Misconduct – What you Need to Know

Police officers are mandated with the important task of protecting public safety, and are thus held to a higher standard of conduct than the general public. However, police are also human and on occasion make mistakes. They also sometimes break the very law they are called to enforce.

In recent years there has been a growing dialogue about police brutality and  police misconduct in North America. It is becoming increasingly apparent that much needs to be done in the way of police relations with the public, especially with marginalized and vulnerable individuals. Last year in Ontario, a small step forward was taken to this end. Following public outrage at the tragic police shooting of Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar, an independent report was generated urging police to wear body cameras and to gain deeper access to information about people in crisis.

Police Misconduct.  Are you a victim?

So, what should you do if you find yourself the victim of police misconduct or brutality? The following are some general tips which are to be
taken as guidelines only, and are not exhaustive nor do they constitute legal advice.

Know Your Rights when Stopped by Police

When you are stopped by police for any reason, you have a right to remain silent. You also have a right to speak to a lawyer. Under section 10(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a police officer must let you speak to a lawyer in private as soon possible. Instigating a fight with the ppolice misconductolice weakens your case for police misconduct.

If the police stop you and tell you to stay put or physically prevent you from leaving, you have a right to know why you’re being detained. You also have Constitutional protection under section 9 of the Charter against being detained without grounds. Any information police gather during an arbitrary detention is inadmissible in court.

If you are stopped by the police while driving

If you are pulled over by police when you are driving, unless the officer is making a legitimate inquiry into whet
her you are licensed or whether the car is registered and in good working order, the detention is arbitrary and you also have Constitutional protection.

Knowing your rights is an important first step you can take in protecting yourself from police misconduct.

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