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Police took his stuff without a warrant, now he is fighting to get it back

Kamloops Law Courts
February 20, 2015 - 4:36 PM

KAMLOOPS – A Kamloops man went before a provincial court judge today with an unusual request—he wants his marijuana plants back.

A Kamloops RCMP officer removed ten plants after she found them in Henry Rhode’s apartment while dealing with an unrelated matter involving his daughter, last summer. He was never charged, despite the fact his marijuana possession and production licences from Health Canada had expired.

Now Rhode, who is in his 70s, wants them back and he had Const. Jean Lehbauer on the stand to explain herself.

“Can I ask her if she smokes marijuana?” he asked judge Roy Dickey in Kamloops Provincial Court.

“No,” Dickey said. “It may be of interest to you, but it’s not of interest to me in the decision I have to make.”

Lehbauer said when she noticed the plants and couldn’t find a posted license, she decided to remove them without a warrant. Rhode said his possession and production licenses are supposed to be on him at all times, which they were when he left the apartment that day.

Rhode made several arguments relating to police conduct, saying the case caused him grief and limited his access to marijuana. He uses the oil to manage pain from a head injury.

“The police aren’t the ones who are here on trial,” Dickey said. “Today’s hearing is simply to determine whether those plants are returned to you.”

Federal Crown prosecutor Matt Huculak said Lehbauer was within her rights to seize the plants if she suspected they were being used for trafficking purposes. He said Rhode’s license expired four months prior to the seizure and the marijuana growth permit was for a different apartment unit than the one he resided in.

“Now we’re talking technical detail,” Rhode said.

Huculak said Rhode possessed the older Medical Marijuana Access Regulations license and not the new Marijuana for Medicinal Purposes Regulations license. The last day Rhode could have applied for the new license for possession was March 21, 2014 – a month after his license expired.

Huculak confirmed Rhode’s plants have not been destroyed by the RCMP and remain drying in a detachment storage locker.  Should they be returned to him and are not in the same condition as when they were taken, Dickey said Rhode may be entitled to compensation. Or, as Huculak said, could lead to a civil suit.

Rhode said the plants could have produced a pound of bud, which he valued at $3,580.

“I certainly have some sympathy for your circumstances, but cases are not based on sympathy,” Dickey said.

Dickey is expected to give his decision next month.

To contact a reporter for this story, email gbrothen@infonews.ca, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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