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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. J.A. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Personation, Use of Forged Identity Documents, Resist Arrest.
Issue: Whether the search and seizure of the documents was an unlawful Charter breach.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown and the Court that, in all the circumstances, it was in the public interest to grant our client a conditional discharge without any reporting condition. 

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

Charges: Assault with a Weapon; Assault Causing Bodily Harm (domestic).
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction and whether it was in the public interest to proceed.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to convince Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings just prior to the trial date. No criminal record.

R. vs. J.B. - ICBC Fraud Investigation

Charge: Theft Under$5000.
Issue: Whether there was a public interest in approving the charge.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown counsel that there was no public interest in approving any charge whatsoever. No criminal record.

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

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Whether it was appropriate for our client to be granted a conditional discharge.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade the trial judge to grant our client a conditional discharge rather than the conviction that Crown counsel was seeking. No criminal record.

R. v. M.P. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Theft Under$5000.
Issue: Whether there was a public interest in approving the charge.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown counsel that there was no public interest in approving any charge whatsoever. No criminal record.

R. vs. O.A. - Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic). Issue: Given the lack of clarity…

R. vs. A.U. - Vancouver Provincial Court

strong>Charges: Sexual Assault; Assault; Theft Under; Breach of Undertaking.
Issue: Given our client's circumstances and the circumstances of the allegations, whether it was in the public interest for Crown to proceed with all charges.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed only on the assault charge and to stay proceedings on all other charges. After considering Mr. mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge and placed him on probation for 12 months. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. V.P. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault with a Weapon; Assault Police Officer.
Issue: Given some weakness in the assault with weapon charge and the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether it was appropriate for the Crown to seek the jail sentence they were originally seeking.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings on the AWW charge and to jointly seek a conditional discharge on the assault police officer charge. No jail. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. S.K. - Surrey Provincial Court

Charges: Fraud Over $5000 (from Employer).
Issue: Given the civil settlement  we were able to obtain on our client's behalf, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with criminal charges.
Result: Mr. Johnson, after successfully negotiating a civil settlement with the complainant, was able to persuade Crown counsel to not approve the criminal charges that RCMP had recommended. No jail. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Impaired Driving; Driving Over .08.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest for Crown counsel to proceed with the criminal charges.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to allow our client to resolve this matter by pleading guilty to a lesser offence under the Motor Vehicle Act. Our client received a driving prohibition and fine. No criminal record.

R. v. S.W. - Courtenay RCMP Investigation

Charges: Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking.
Issue: Whether the search of the vehicle and our client was lawful.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to steer our client through the investigation and made representations to police that the search was unlawful. Police declined to recommend any  charges. No criminal record.

R. vs. A.N. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault with a Weapon.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we guided our client through, whether it was in the public interest for Crown to seek a conviction on this charge.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to permit our client to plead to the lesser offence of common assault. After hearing Mr. Johnson's submissions, the court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

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.