A judge has dismissed drug charges against a driver after finding a police officer "concocted facts" in testimony that pitted his word against his partner's.
"This was egregious and wilful conduct," Ontario Superior Court Justice Nancy Backhouse said in her written ruling.
Const. Ido Sukman "concocted facts in an effort to support his conduct, which I believe he knew was in violation of the Charter," Backhouse said.
His patrol partner on the night in question, Const. Qian Liang Yang, gave a markedly different version of what happened after they stopped a man who was driving with his tail lights off.
The Crown urged the judge to reject Yang's evidence as unreliable.
The judge disagreed. "I found him a credible witness."
Backhouse excluded evidence of drugs found on Luke Chi Le, 29, and dismissed his charges of possession of heroin and cocaine, and possession of heroin for the purposes of trafficking.
At 9:25 p.m. on June 28, the two officers were in a marked cruiser on assignment for TAVIS (Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy). They were in a driveway on Graydon Hall Dr. when they saw a Miata driving by with no tail lights on.
Sukman signalled the driver to pull over.
The officers checked the police database, CPIC, and found the car belonged to Le and that he was suspected by York Regional Police of drug activity.
Sukman testified he decided to ask Le why his tail lights were not on before he got the CPIC information.
The officer said he went to the driver's side of the car.
From the driver's side of the car, the officer said he noticed on the passenger seat three small plastic bags with whitish powder residue that he recognized as heroin.
Sukman then arrested Le for possession of heroin.
He testified he searched the car and found tin foil with burn marks, a silver spoon with minor residue and a box with rolling papers.
He searched Le, finding $1,240 in cash, 2.02 grams of cocaine and 11.7 grams of heroin.
But Yang had a different recollection. He said Sukman decided to stop the Miata after he got the CPIC information.
Yang testified he did not see any drugs on Le's passenger seat.
The only basis he could propose for arresting Le was the information they received on CPIC about his suspected drug activity.
There was nothing in Yang's notes about drugs or drug paraphernalia.
The judge excluded the drug evidence, owing to Sukman's "deliberate breach" of Le's Charter rights. "The police conduct brings the administration of justice into disrepute," she said.
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