KELOWNA – A Kelowna man arrested after an investigator who lived in his apartment building saw him selling drugs, has had his appeal dismissed in a Vancouver court.
Peter Andrew Webster was arrested in the elevator of his building Dec. 16, 2008, after a surveillance team saw him hand a plastic bag to another man in front of his building in Kelowna shortly after midnight.
Inside the plastic bag were numerous other smaller bags containing substances later identified as cocaine and crack. He was arrested and taken to the Kelowna RCMP detachment.
According to a written judgement released Wednesday, June 24, the total weight of the drugs was approximately one kilogram.
Police first started investigating Webster in November 2008 after RCMP arrested a woman in Vernon for a dial-a-dope trafficking offence. A search of the woman’s cellular phones revealed two telephone numbers for a person called “Dru Boss Man” who police believed was her supplier.
The phones were listed to Al Smith and Andrew P. Webster in Kelowna.
The lead investigator found out a man named Peter Andrew Webster had been charged with prohibited driving in Prince George and a Prince George RCMP officer told him Webster was known to associate with members of an organized crime group.
“The officer also provided information from a confidential police informant that Peter Webster was selling ounce levels of cocaine in the Prince George area, that he was supplying crack cocaine to several crack houses in the area and recently had moved to Kelowna,” writes Justice Chiasson. “An electronic copy of a photograph of Mr. Webster was provided.”
The lead investigator was also informed a person named “Drew”, whose phone number matched the number stored in the dial-a-dope womans phone, sells cocaine and heroin out of an apartment building in Kelowna.
“The lead investigator, who lived in the same condominium complex as the appellant, obtained a copy of a Rental Information Report from the property manager of the buildings. This gave him the address and telephone number of the appellant. The telephone number was the same as the number for “Dru Boss Man” contained in the arrested woman’s cellular telephone. It was also the same number for “Drew” as provided by the two informants,” the investigator said. “Virtually every message contained on the Telus report is related to drug trafficking, and shows a consistent pattern on the part of [the appellant] in directing and running the operation.”
The investigator noted after the telephone of the arrested woman was seized, the volume of messages diminished significantly and the phone listed to Webster was disconnected.
He was found guilty of trafficking on June 10, 2013 but appealed his conviction on the grounds police violated his privacy when the lead investigator used his own key to enter the building. The judge denied the appeal
“The goal was to arrest him in the parking lot immediately after the transaction took place, but the accused was back in the building before the police could do that. The officers followed him and, although they did have a key or code to enter the building, it was unnecessary as a resident let them in,” the judge writes.
Websters defence also argued police breached his right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure by entering his residence immediately after his arrest and before a search warrant was obtained but that too was denied.
Police testified they believed Webster’s girlfriend was in the apartment and they needed to enter quickly to prevent destruction of evidence.
“The officers entered the condo and removed the accused’s girlfriend, then waited for the search warrant to be delivered to them. The officer with the warrant arrived at 3:09 a.m. and the search of the residence did not commence until after the search warrant was obtained.”
Police found 330 grams of cocaine in a safe, scales and $4,500 in cash in the apartment.
His sentence of 18 months in prison was upheld.
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