Lotion, joint led to illegal Kelowna arrest of man with 53 bags of drugs in his 'bottom:' Judge | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Lotion, joint led to illegal Kelowna arrest of man with 53 bags of drugs in his 'bottom:' Judge

A "dry" prison toilet.
Image Credit: publicdomainpictures.net
December 14, 2016 - 7:00 PM


KELOWNA – When you gotta’ go number two, you gotta’ go… but for a Surrey man sitting in a Kelowna jail cell desperately awaiting the conclusion of his bail hearing in June 2014, relief resulted in numerous criminal charges.

Ronjot Dhami, born in 1993, was arrested June 10, 2014 and held in cells on suspicion he had drugs hidden in his rectum, according to a decision by Justice Peter Rogers posted by the B.C. Supreme Court Dec. 12. He was likely just a couple of hours from escaping criminal prosecution after spending nearly three days cleverly holding his evidence from police.

Dhami was placed in a cell monitored by a video camera and a “dry” toilet so he could not flush any evidence.

At approximately 8 p.m. that night, “Dhami stood up in his cell, put his right hand down the rear of his pants and fumbled around in the area of his buttocks,” Rogers said.

“He then sat on the cell’s toilet while concealing his right hand from view. Then he stood up and once again put his hand down the rear of his pants and fished around with it in the area of his buttocks. He called the guards and told them that he had had a bowel movement.

“No drugs were found in the feces he left in the dry toilet bowl. However, the police reviewed the video recording of Mr. Dhami’s antics in the cell leading up to and following his sitting on the toilet. What they saw there, i.e.: the movements described above, convinced them that Mr. Dhami had removed drugs from his rectum, held the drugs hidden in his hand while he sat on the toilet, and had then re-inserted the drugs in his rectum.”

Police could do nothing but wait a little longer. Meanwhile, his lawyer, Stanley Tessmer, desperately tried to arrange a quick bail hearing, even convincing a judge to interrupt a trial to hear the issue. 

During that bail hearing the next day, federal Crown lawyer Clark Burnett spoke until it was time to break for lunch.

“(Defence counsel) was anxious to proceed, but Judge (Brad) Chapman decided that it would not be fair to hold staff over the lunch break. He adjourned the bail hearing until after lunch,” the decision says. “Unfortunately for Mr. Dhami, the court lunch break was a little too soon.”

At around 1 p.m. Dhami was seen crouched on the floor of his cell using a plastic fork or spoon to poke little packages through the holes of the floor drain.

“Mr. Dhami was found to have feces and little plastic wrapped packages smeared on his feet. There were feces and more little feces-smeared plastic wrapped packages in and around the toilet and floor of the cell. Several more such packages were found in the water below the floor drain.”

Police recovered seven bags containing a total of 1.24 grams of heroin, 23 bags containing a total of 5.86 grams of crack cocaine and 23 bags containing a total of 4.59 grams of fentanyl.

But Rogers’ decision ultimately worked out in his favour. He was asked to decide a Constitutional question about the legality of his arrest.

Earlier in they day, on June 10, 2014, an officer had been surveilling another man suspected of running a heroin and cocaine dealing ring but decided to follow a Mercedes when he recognized Dhami as a suspected dealer from the Lower Mainland.

He pulled the driver over and during the ensuing conversation was told the men were in Kelowna to visit the beach and “look at girls.” But he noticed a few suspicious things; what appeared to be a marijuana joint and a mess of hand lotion in the vehicle and on Dhami’s face.

He ordered the men out of the car and later arrested them. In the vehicle he found a jar of lotion, freshly used. He was taken to the Kelowna detachment where he was held “in order to secure the evidence of the drugs that (the constable) believed Mr. Dhami had hidden up his bottom.”

Although the judge said there is little doubt Dhami expelled the packages from his rectum, he was unable to grant Crown's request the drugs be used in a trial.

“The only indication that Mr. Dhami had actually touched the lotion was the dot on his face. It does not take an anatomist to appreciate that a person’s face is a long way away from his rectum.

“Without some evidence that the people in the Mercedes were trafficking in drugs, the mere presence of lotion in the car and of Mr. Dhami rubbing his hands together and having a dot of lotion on his chin… are not enough, I think, to ground a reasonable belief that he had secreted heroin in his rectum.”

“For that reason I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that the evidence here does not... make lawful Mr. Dhami’s arrest for possession of heroin."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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