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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. v. S.C. – Vancouver Police Investigation

Charge: Assault.
Issue: Whether there was credible evidence that would meet the charge approval standard.
Result: Mr. Gauthier provided information to the investigating officer that led the investigator to conclude that our client was not chargeable with a criminal offence. No charge approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. C.K. – Richmond Provincial Court

Charges: Assault; Forcible Confinement (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to guide our through, whether it was in the public interest for our client to be sentenced to a criminal record.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown to proceed only on the assault charge and, after hearing Mr. Gauthier's submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

R.M. vs. Superintendent of Motor Vehicles

Charge: 90 Day Immediate Roadside prohibition.
Issue: Whether the police report established, on balance, that our client had refused to provide a breath sample during a roadside impaired driving investigation.
Result: The adjudicator agreed with Mr. Mines' submissions that our client's evidence was more reliable than the evidence set out in the Police Report to the Superintendent. The 90 day driving prohibition was overturned and our client was ruled eligible to resume driving.

R. vs. E.W. – Fort Nelson Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a criminal conviction.
Result: Upon reviewing the allegations, Mr. Mines made representations to Crown counsel resulting in Crown agreeing that there was no reasonable prospect of convicting our client. No charges were approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. H.K. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault Peace Officer; Mischief Under $5000.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with criminal charges.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to  persuade Crown counsel to allow our client into the Alternative Measures Program and to enter a stay of proceedings on both charges upon our client completing the program. No criminal record.

R. vs. R.S. – Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Breach of Probation (from weapons charge).
Issue: Whether there was a public interest in proceeding with the prosecution of our client who had failed to complete a course of court ordered counselling.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to steer our client through an equivalent course of counselling. Upon completion, Crown counsel stayed the proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.P. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Mischief Causing Danger to Life.
Issue: Given the medical evidence Mr. Gauthier provided to Crown counsel, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. R.A. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Breaking & Entering; Unlawful Confinement; Assault.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest for the prosecution to continue against our client, a U.S. citizen who was in Canada on a visitor's visa.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings on all charges upon our client agreeing to a Deportation Order. No criminal record.

R. vs. P.N. – Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Dangerous Driving Causing Death. Issue: Whether Crown could prove that our client had the necessary intent to prove that she was guilty of the criminal charge. Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed under the Motor Vehicle Act rather than the Criminal Code. After hearing Mr. Mines'  submissions, the Court sentenced our client to 60 days to be served on weekends. The Crown had originally sought a sentence in the range of 2 years.

R. vs. L.A. – New Westminster Provincial Court

Charge: Breach of Probation (from domestic assault charge).
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to prosecute our client for failing to report and complete counselling.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to guide our client back onto an alternative course of rehabilitation and persuaded Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. M.K. – Richmond Provincial Court

Charges: Uttering Threats; Extortion.
Issue: Given the age of the charges and the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether a jail sentence was appropriate.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to seek a non custodial sentence. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a suspended sentence and placed him on probation for 16 months. No jail.

R. vs. K.A. – Western Communities Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issues: Given the information we provided to Crown counsel regarding the complainant's past unlawful behaviour toward our client, whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: As a result of the information we provided, Crown counsel withdrew the charge. No further bail restrictions. No criminal 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.