May 30, 2014 - 5:46 PM
KELOWNA - A Supreme Court Justice ruled Friday that a West Kelowna man living in Manitoba will be reimbursed for expenses incurred while testifying in a criminal trial in Kelowna.
Barry Ready, now 53, was at one time a co-accused in the trial of Clifford Roger Montgomery and Tariz Mohammed Aslam of Surrey. Both men are charged with smuggling almost 100 kg of cocaine into Canada in a South American fruit grinding machine in October 2010.
Charges were eventually stayed against Ready, but counsel for the accused obtained a subpoena requiring him to attend the trial to give evidence.
Montgomery's lawyer argued that conduct money, sometimes paid to witnesses as a reimbursement for travel expenses and loss of wages, is due only in civil matters. Justice A.J. Beames however, ruled that the party who called the witness will pay reasonable costs involved in having him attend and that the court has the jurisdiction to require witnesses be paid by the party who filed the subpoena regardless of whether it’s a civil or criminal matter.
“While a duty exists for a fact witness to attend court and testify, potentially at some personal inconvenience, and without being paid a fee or being reimbursed for lost wages, for example, I am not convinced it is appropriate for that witness to be forced to attend at his own expense,” she says. “Consequently, I find that Mr. Ready was entitled to be paid reasonable conduct money for his travel to and from Kelowna, plus a reasonable allowance for his associated accommodation and meals.”
The amount of reimbursement is not disclosed and Ready was ultimately excused without testifying.
According to a report by the Globe and Mail, the cocaine was first found by Border Service agents in Vancouver and allowed to continue to its destination in Kelowna where it was kept under surveillance until the arrests were made.
Montgomery was arrested at his home in West Kelowna Oct. 4, 2010 and Ready at a ranch in Merritt the same day.
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