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Drug Production

The Charge

It is an offence to produce any of the substances listed in the Schedules of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Likewise, it is an offence to produce cannabis not as authorized by the Cannabis Act.

To “produce” means to obtain a substance by any process or method, and includes:

  • Synthesizing, manufacturing or using any method in order to alter the physical or chemical qualities of a substance;
  • Harvesting, cultivating or growing the substance or any living organism that the substance can be derived or extracted from.

Because of the large quantities of the controlled substances and the actual or potential large financial gain that is associated with distribution of the substance, potential sentences are serious upon conviction. Courts generally sentence those convicted of drug production to incarceration, sometimes involving lengthy penitentiary time. Maximum sentences for hard drug production offences are for up to imprisonment for life.

The Investigation

Typically, police begin targeting a suspected drug producer or place based on information provided through a tip from a third party. For example, a neighbour who observes suspicious activity – people coming and going, smells, noises or evidence of property being fortified. In order to search the property, police have to present information to a judge or justice that outlines the reasonable and probable grounds that the officer believes support the granting of a warrant to search. Often, police will seek to add evidence to the tip and will conduct further independent investigations on the suspected drug production operation. This might include the police conducting surveillance of suspected producers or seeking and obtaining wiretap warrants to intercept private communications of suspects.

Recent Successes

R. vs. P.S.A. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to direct Crown counsel to gaps in the police investigation resulting in Crown deciding to not approve any charge in this matter. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.J. - Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charge: Driving While Prohibited. Issue: Whether the crown…

R. vs. M.L. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault; Uttering Threats (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client achieved under our direction, whether there was a public interest in proceeding with the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown counsel to stay the charges.  All restrictive conditions removed. No criminal record.

R. vs. C.S. - Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to point to a lack of evidence with respect to the charge resulting in Crown counsel entering a stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. N.D. - Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Sexual Assault.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to direct Crown counsel to various flaws in the prosecution's case. On the eve of a 4 day trial, Crown agreed to resolve this matter by way of a nine month Peace Bond. No criminal record.

R. vs. B.M. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was appropriate for Crown counsel to proceed on this charge, which carries a mandatory minimum 12 month driving prohibition.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to proceed on the lesser offence of driving without a valid driver's licence. After hearing Mr. johnson's submissions, the court imposed a $500 fine. No driving prohibition.

R. vs. B.C. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal charge.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown counsel to stay the criminal charge. Our client entered into a Peace Bond for a period of 9 months. No criminal record.

R. vs. Z.H. - Port Coquitlam Youth Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Whether, given the history between our client and the complainant, it was reasonable for our client apply  the level of force he used.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to not approve any criminal charge but, rather, to resolve the matter through Restorative Justice. No criminal record.

Y.Y. vs. Superintendent of Motor Vehicles - Review of Driving Prohibition

Charge: Notice of Intent to Prohibit.
Issue: Whether RoadSafety BC had appropriate reasons to prohibit our client from driving for 4 months.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade the Superintendent's adjudicator that the 4 month driving prohibition was not warranted. The driving prohibition was reduced to 2 months.

R. vs. R.H. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault (x2); Threatening; Breach of Undertaking (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether it was appropriate for the Court to convict him.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown to proceed on only a single count of assault. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.  

R. vs. D.I. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm; Driving Without Due Care and Attention.
Issue: Whether it was appropriate for Crown to charge our client under the Criminal Code or the Motor Vehicle Act in regard to an accident where our client's vehicle struck a cyclist from behind, causing serious injury.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide information to Crown which resulted in Crown proceeding under the Motor Vehicle Act. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court sentenced our client to a $1000 fine and limited his ability to drive for 12 months. No criminal conviction. No loss of insurance coverage. No jail.

R. vs. C.G. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: s. 810 Peace Bond Application.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether the complainant continued to have fear of our client.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to withdraw its Peace Bond application. No conditions. No record.

The Defence

Unreasonable Search

As experienced drug lawyers, we will analyze the facts of your case and the actions of police to determine whether the search and seizure was, in fact, conducted lawfully, as authorized by the Charter. Where police have violated our client’s rights by conducting a search without having reasonable and probable grounds, we will apply to the court to have the drug evidence excluded from the trial under s. 24(2) of the Charter. The general idea is that when police obtain evidence from an unlawful search that has violated our client’s Charter rights, the court ought to see that evidence as “tainted” and that its admission into the trial record will “bring the administration of justice into disrepute.” Without the admission of the drug evidence, the court will find that there is insufficient evidence to convict.

Lack of Possession

In order to prove that a person produced illicit drugs, the Crown must prove that the accused possessed the drugs. This may be problematic in situations where the accused is not found in the production facility. A very viable defence to a drug production charge is to show that our client did not consent to, have knowledge of, or have control over the drug. This may involve adducing evidence that our client did not know that the drug was, in fact, a controlled substance. It may involve showing that our client had no control over the place in which the drugs were found. As experienced defence lawyers, we understand the Crown’s burden in proving that an accused had the requisite knowledge and control of the substance to be convicted. We are dedicated to holding the Crown to the high standard that the law requires when prosecuting drug offences. We are committed to defending our client’s rights as guaranteed by the Charter.

Start with a free consultation.

If you are being investigated by police or if you’ve been charged with a criminal or driving offence, don’t face the problem alone. Being accused of an offence is stressful. The prospects of a criminal record or jail sentence can be daunting. Even if you think there is no defence, we may be able to help. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Vancouver lawyers, contact us now.