Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Judge finds Surrey RCMP breached two robbery suspects’ Charter rights

This was in connection with the robbery of the Ritecare Pharmacy in Surrey on Oct. 10, 2017

A B.C. Supreme Court judge says the Surrey RCMP violated two robbery supects’ Charter rights and as a result has ruled a raft of evidence inadmissible at trial.

The defence argued that the police traffic stop – in Newton near the bus loop – was motivated by racial profiling, the judge noted in her ruling, “and later became a ruse to gather evidence” for the robbery investigation.

The Crown, on the other hand, argued the police stop was motivated by “legitimate traffic and vehicle safety reasons, as well as for the purposes of a valid criminal investigation.”

After a voir dire hearing –which is essentially a trial within a trial where the Crown and defence argue on what evidence should be rejected or considered by the court – Justice Palbinder Kaur Shergill in New Westminster decided to exclude evidence related to what she found to be an unlawful police stop and unlawful search and seizure.

This, she decided, embraced evidence obtained during a police stop in Newton, evidence that the vehicle was driven by Suleiman Mohamed Abdullahi, the identity and description of the passengers, description of the knife, all photographs taken by a constable during the stop and all items seized by police when they searched two residences.

“In my view, the police stop was tainted from the outset,” Shergill noted in her ruling. “Though I am not able to conclude with any degree of certainty that racial profiling occurred in this case,” she said, the evidence led her to a “strong suspicion that this is precisely what motivated” police to initiate the police stop.

READ ALSO: New trial ordered for woman accused of sexually assaulting teen in Surrey

READ ALSO: Convicted robber wants guilty pleas overturned after learning he’ll be deported

“In my view, the allegation of the smell of fresh marijuana emanating from the vehicle was nothing more than a ruse,” she said, that was designed “to legitimize an unlawful police stop” and afford police “the opportunity to gather evidence for the robbery investigation.”

Abdullahi and Ahmed Ali Ismail were each charged with one count of robbery, having their faces masked with intent to commit an indictable offence, unlawful confinement and carrying a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for committing an offence.

This was in connection with the robbery of the Ritecare Pharmacy in Surrey on Oct, 10, 2017.

The pair were alleged to be among five masked robbers and the question before the court was their identity.

“In arriving at this conclusion,” Shergill said of her ruling, “I am mindful that this Court has to carefully balance the interest of public safety against the Charter violation. I appreciate that exclusion of the evidence could mean that a potential conviction of a person or persons for robbery and other related criminal conduct, may be lost. However, when all factors are balanced, the harm to the reputation of the justice system which would be engendered by inclusion of the evidence, is far outweighed by the harm that would flow from excluding the evidence.”

Shergill also found that the constable who did the traffic stop “also breached the accuseds’ rights to be informed of the reasons for their detention, by failing to tell them that the reason for the stop was to aid in the robbery investigation.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

BC Supreme Courtsurrey rcmp

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Record-setting high jumper Emma de Boer, who lives in Cloverdale and attends Holy Cross Regional High School in Fleetwood, will train and study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) next fall. (submitted photo)
Surrey jumper on a high after recruitment by UPenn track team

High jumper Emma de Boer aims to leave Cloverdale for Philadelphia next fall

Surrey RCMP Gang Enforcement Team street check. (File photo)
Surrey RCMP gang enforcement team seizes five vehicles

This was over 13 days, as SGET continues to target gang activity in this city

File photo
Surrey to borrow $150 million for three major recreation projects

That’s for a sports complex in the city centre, a sports and ice complex in Cloverdale and a community centre in Newton

The White Birch proposal for a six-storey rental-only building at 1485 Fir St. was turned down by council on Monday night. (Contributed rendering)
White Birch developer feels ‘betrayed’ by City of White Rock council

Application for new rental building at 1485 Fir St. turned down by council

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
RCMP appeal for witnesses after hit-and-run leaves girl, 17, in critical condition

The Metro Vancouver teenager was found unconscious and critically injured after being hit: police

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read