Man found with drugs in Kelowna acquitted of trafficking charges - InfoNews

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Man found with drugs in Kelowna acquitted of trafficking charges

February 19, 2019 - 5:30 PM

KELOWNA - In January of last year, Thomas Dill borrowed a jacket and went for a drive into Kelowna. He was approached by police and as he was talking to them, a small baggy of marijuana allegedly fell out of his pocket. Police searched him and found other drugs in his possession. He told the officers he had no idea the jacket was filled with drugs. He maintained his innocence throughout his trial and now a Supreme Court judge in Kelowna, with some reservations, has dropped the charges.

Dill, born in 1972, was charged with three counts of possession for the purposes of trafficking stemming from a Jan. 6, 2018 incident where police found him wearing a jacket stuffed with cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. According to a recent decision, Dill admitted that if the drugs were in his possession, they were there for the purpose of trafficking. However, he denied knowing the drugs were in the jacket.

The trial centered on whether the Crown could prove Dill knew he was carrying the drugs. In her written decision, Justice Nitya Iyer said she had suspicions, but said the Crown's case didn't rise beyond a reasonable doubt, resulting in Dill's acquital.

According to the decision, on Jan. 6, 2018 Dill went up to Beaverdell to work with a friend on his property. The property was described as an old mill used for raves and music festivals. Dill and others worked in a grader clearing snow on the property for three hours before the machine broke down, forcing Dill to repair it.

At this point, the court transcript states, Sherry Curley, a local resident, came by with her dog, saw him on the ground with only a light jacket so she found Dill a coat. 

The borrowed jacket was a camouflage-coloured puffy winter jacket. Dill said he later learned the jacket belonged to Karen Horvath, now deceased, who'd been working on the property that day.

Dill worked for another hour before heading into Kelowna to renew his truck's temporary insurance. He and his friend stopped at a pullout near Kelowna when a police cruiser pulled up. They had reports of erratic driving that matched the truck's license plate. Dill stepped out of his truck and started chatting with police when a baggy of marijuana fell out of the jacket. He was arrested for possession and when Dill's jacket was searched, they found more drugs in a pocket. 

Iyer said there were too many open questions about whether Dill knew there were drugs in the jacket. She said there was no direct evidence for how the drugs got in the jacket, particularly since multiple people had access to the trailer where it was stored. She also said there was little evidence to suggest much of a relationship between Dill and Horvath, the jacket's owner.

The Crown contended that the bulk of the drugs, all of which were stored in the upper left pocket and weighed roughly four ounces, would have been noticeable. Dill said he left the jacket unzipped and never explored the jacket as he was busy working. Justice Iyer wrote that this explanation could possibly be true.

Justice Iyer concluded her decision by saying that the circumstances were certainly suspicious, but based on the available evidence she could not draw inferences of guilt. Dill was acquited of all three charges.


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