Evidence against trucker arrested in drug bust admissable: judge

Cory Hurley cory.hurley@tc.tc
Published on January 22, 2014

CORNER BROOK — The evidence obtained by police, based on a confidential informant’s tip, against a trucker allegedly transporting drugs and cigarettes into Newfoundland is admissable.

This week, provincial court Judge Wayne Gorman dismissed Wayne Scott Winsor’s application for exclusion of evidence based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The hearing was held in Corner Brook Thursday.

According to the judge’s written decision, the long-haul trucker was transporting playground equipment from Ontario to Gambo. Police received information from a confidential source that a controlled substance was also being transported.

Police found marijuana, methamphetamine and contraband tobacco during a search of the truck on Oct. 23, 2012, while Winsor stopped at the Pynn’s Brook weigh scale in western Newfoundland.

The trucker for Badcock’s Trucking of Nova Scotia argued his arrest was unlawful and the search was unreasonable. He also claimed police failed to promptly notify him of his right to obtain counsel.

“The Charter is not designed to frustrate legitimate police investigative activity,” Gorman wrote in his decision. “In this case, the police acted properly, lawfully and in complete compliance with their constitutional obligations. Rather than being the subject of criticism, the police involved in this case should be commended for responding to the information they received and for scrupulously complying with their constitutional duties.”

The confidential source was identified as a paid informant for about 15 years who has proven to be consistently reliable. Sgt. Donald Bill of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police also said information the source has provided has led to about 20 arrests.

In this case, police seized a “joint” and tablets behind a visor, two and one-half grams of marijuana in a fridge in the sleeping area, five one-half pound packages of marijuana in a duct-taped box behind the passenger seat  and nine sealed boxes of 50 cartons of contraband tobacco in the trailer.

Winsor argued the information from the source was insufficiently reliable to provide grounds for his arrest, thus the search of the tractor trailer was a violation of the Charter. He argued the evidence seized should be excluded.

Gorman agreed with the Crown that the police search was valid and the arrest was lawful. He also concluded the officer properly informed him of his right to seek counsel.