Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Judge finds Surrey RCMP breached two robbery suspects’ Charter rights

This was in connection with the robbery of the Ritecare Pharmacy in Surrey on Oct. 10, 2017

A B.C. Supreme Court judge says the Surrey RCMP violated two robbery supects’ Charter rights and as a result has ruled a raft of evidence inadmissible at trial.

The defence argued that the police traffic stop – in Newton near the bus loop – was motivated by racial profiling, the judge noted in her ruling, “and later became a ruse to gather evidence” for the robbery investigation.

The Crown, on the other hand, argued the police stop was motivated by “legitimate traffic and vehicle safety reasons, as well as for the purposes of a valid criminal investigation.”

After a voir dire hearing –which is essentially a trial within a trial where the Crown and defence argue on what evidence should be rejected or considered by the court – Justice Palbinder Kaur Shergill in New Westminster decided to exclude evidence related to what she found to be an unlawful police stop and unlawful search and seizure.

This, she decided, embraced evidence obtained during a police stop in Newton, evidence that the vehicle was driven by Suleiman Mohamed Abdullahi, the identity and description of the passengers, description of the knife, all photographs taken by a constable during the stop and all items seized by police when they searched two residences.

“In my view, the police stop was tainted from the outset,” Shergill noted in her ruling. “Though I am not able to conclude with any degree of certainty that racial profiling occurred in this case,” she said, the evidence led her to a “strong suspicion that this is precisely what motivated” police to initiate the police stop.

READ ALSO: New trial ordered for woman accused of sexually assaulting teen in Surrey

READ ALSO: Convicted robber wants guilty pleas overturned after learning he’ll be deported

“In my view, the allegation of the smell of fresh marijuana emanating from the vehicle was nothing more than a ruse,” she said, that was designed “to legitimize an unlawful police stop” and afford police “the opportunity to gather evidence for the robbery investigation.”

Abdullahi and Ahmed Ali Ismail were each charged with one count of robbery, having their faces masked with intent to commit an indictable offence, unlawful confinement and carrying a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for committing an offence.

This was in connection with the robbery of the Ritecare Pharmacy in Surrey on Oct, 10, 2017.

The pair were alleged to be among five masked robbers and the question before the court was their identity.

“In arriving at this conclusion,” Shergill said of her ruling, “I am mindful that this Court has to carefully balance the interest of public safety against the Charter violation. I appreciate that exclusion of the evidence could mean that a potential conviction of a person or persons for robbery and other related criminal conduct, may be lost. However, when all factors are balanced, the harm to the reputation of the justice system which would be engendered by inclusion of the evidence, is far outweighed by the harm that would flow from excluding the evidence.”

Shergill also found that the constable who did the traffic stop “also breached the accuseds’ rights to be informed of the reasons for their detention, by failing to tell them that the reason for the stop was to aid in the robbery investigation.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

BC Supreme Courtsurrey rcmp

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Clay Helkenberg was all smiles after bringing up a gun and box of ammo from the bottom of Chilliwack Lake. (Instagram photo)
Chilliwack diver finds handgun and ammunition on the bottom of Chilliwack Lake

Clay Helkenberg has long had a gun on his want-to-find list, and finally checked it off

Cannabis plants visible under bright lights inside a large facility at Shxwha:y Village on July 6, 2018. The reserve was home to the licensed producer for Indigenous Bloom, which opened up a dispensary on the Kwaw-Kwaw-Apilt reserve. On April 12, 2021, Shxwha:y announced Health Canada approval for a licensed production facility at the village. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack’s Shxwha:y First Nation approved for cannabis cultivation and processing facility

It will be the first majority-owned Indigenous on-reserve licensed facility in Western Canada

Bat Packs are the newest addition to the FVRL Playground, and have everything you need to learn more about bats, and track them in your neighbourhood. (FVRL image)
Bat Packs at Fraser Valley libraries come with echometer to track bats

Packs are the newest part of the FVRL Playground inventory

A sea lion swims past the window of an empty viewing area Vancouver Aquarium is pictured Thursday, September 10, 2020. The Vancouver Aquarium has had to close its doors to the public due to the lack of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
U.S.-based theme park company buys Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium had to shut its doors in September due to COVID pandemic

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

A deep cut on a humpback whale is shown in this recent handout photo in the Vancouver area. A conservation organization is warning boaters to be extra careful to prevent further harm to an injured humpback whale swimming in the Vancouver area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ocean Wise, Vanessa Prigollini *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boaters urged to use caution around hurt humpback off Vancouver

Ocean Wise says watchers first noticed the wound 3 days ago and believe it was caused by a vessel strike

Ron Rauch and his wife Audrey are photographed at their home in Victoria, Friday, March 5, 2021. Their daughter Lisa Rauch died on Christmas Day 2019 when a tactical officer with the Victoria Police Department shot her in the back of the head with plastic bullets after barricading herself in a room that was on fire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. families push for changes as special committee examines provincial Police Act

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged the need to update the legislation last year

Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada negotiating contracts to secure COVID-19 booster shots for next year: Anand

Most of Canada’s current vaccine suppliers are already testing new versions against variants

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
UPDATE: 1 of 3 puppies stolen from South Surrey returned to owner

American Bulldog puppy recovered after being sold at Mission car show

Two women walk past ‘The Meeting’ sculptures in White Rock’s Miramar Plaza Wednesday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
New public art in White Rock faces criticism as the ‘two Michaels’ remain in China’s custody

‘I would encourage people to go out and enjoy it’ said Vancouver Biennale founder

Most Read