No-cops-allowed sign at bong shop didn't force police to get warrant: court

VANCOUVER - B.C.'s Appeal Court says a bong shop can't simply put up a sign ordering the police to stay out and expect undercover officers won't drop by.

Timothy Felger, who owned the store in Abbotsford, B.C., and employee Natasha Healy were charged after a sting operation in 2009.

Undercover officers bought marijuana on five separate occasions and also saw other customers making similar purchases.

Felger and Healy argued at trial that a sign instructing police to stay out without a warrant meant the sting amounted to an unreasonable search.

The trial judge ruled the evidence could not be used and acquitted the pair in 2012, but the B.C. Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial.

The court says in a written decision that the store was a public place, meaning the police were free to investigate marijuana sales there.


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