Vernon lawyer argues Okanagan pot case in Canada's highest court - InfoNews

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Vernon lawyer argues Okanagan pot case in Canada's highest court

Defence lawyer Julian van der Walle and his co-counsel, Micah Rankin and Jeremy Jensen, appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada Jan. 18, 2017.
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March 06, 2017 - 8:00 PM

VERNON - A local marijuana case centred around the validity of a search warrant was argued in Canada’s highest court.

Frederick Allen Clark was originally acquitted on charges of production and possession for the purpose of trafficking and theft of electricity charges after his lawyer, Julian van der Walle, got the RCMP’s search warrant thrown out in October 2014.

The trial judge ruled the telewarrant used by police to raid the Lake Country residence was unlawful and that the justice of the peace who issued it was in favour of approving it before he had even seen it.

A year later, in 2015, Crown appealed the ruling and the Supreme Court of B.C. concluded the trial judge made errors in his assessment of the evidence and ordered a new trial. The B.C. Court of Appeal is usually the last stop for cases that are appealed, but not this time.

The case was appealed to the country’s highest court, the Supreme Court of Canada, in an attempt by the defence to have Clark acquitted.

“In this case the Supreme Court was of the view that the issues were of significant national importance and that is why they gave us leave to appeal,” van der Walle tells

Along with co-counsel Micah Rankin and Jeremy Jensen, van der Walle fought the case Jan. 18, 2017. In the end, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and, in essence, agreed with the B.C. Court of Appeal’s ruling. Despite the loss, van der Walle says it was an incredible experience to appear in Canada’s highest court.

The ruling now forms what is known as ‘case law’ and can be used as a guideline by lawyers and judges for other, similar cases.  

“It is difficult to know how much of an effect the case will have on the law in the future,” van der Walle says. “Arguably, it suggests that the telewarrant procedure can be used almost interchangeably with the old 'in person' warrant applications that are becoming more and more infrequent nowadays.”

Clark’s case is expected to be resolved on March 20.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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