October 07, 2014 - 2:30 PM
KELOWNA - Drug charges against three men are in doubt after a Kelowna Supreme Court Justice ruled RCMP officers, after committing resources to a lengthy investigation, erred in their arrests of three men believed to be trafficking heroin.
Justice Gordon Funt, in his Oct. 2 voir dire ruling, ruled the arrests of Joshua David Lambrecht and Daryl Gordon Manuel were unconstitutional. Funt ruled the men’s arrests were illegal because officers did not obtain necessary warrants, an infringement of their charter rights. A voir dire is a trial within a trial, often to determine admissibility of evidence.
Results from an earlier voir dire determined the unwarranted arrest of a third man, Errol Allan Brown, also violated his charter rights.
The case stemmed from a 2012 long-term investigation when officers followed the three men between Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton to determine if one or all were engaged in drug trafficking. Const. Jerod Dyck, the lead investigator, considered all three arrests to be justified after finding heroin and cash in a white Cadillac driven by Brown at the time of his arrest.
“Const. Dyck relied on the heroin and cash found as part of Mr. Brown’s unlawful arrest as the determinative ground to justify the arrest without warrant of Mr. Manuel and then of Mr. Lambrecht,” Funt said in his ruling. “If Const. Dyck, the lead investigator, had appeared before a justice to seek arrest warrants for Mr. Manuel and Mr. Lambrecht... his request would not have been granted.”
Prior to the voir dire, Lambrecht faced six counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
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