By on September 1, 2010

An Ontario, Canada judge in July faulted the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Attorney General of Ontario for attempting to confiscate $46,078 contrary to the law. Officer Paul Barkley had pulled over a 2000 Mazda traveling on Highway 401 near Morrisburg just after midnight on October 16, 2009. Barkley had assumed the driver, Remus Petran, might have been drunk because he was driving below the speed limit. After speaking to Petran, who was sober, Barkley decided to search the vehicle.

In the Mazda’s trunk, Barkley found a gym bag containing CDN $74,980. Petran explained that he worked in construction and was paid in cash. For this, Petran was arrested for possession of property obtained by crime and his car towed away. After police found no evidence of a crime, Petran was unconditionally released with his car and without any charges filed — but police kept the cash.

“It was money associated with drug trafficking or some other profit-motivated unlawful activity and that, on the night of October 16, 2009, Remus Petran was acting as a courier engaged in profit-motivated criminal enterprise,” OPP Detective Constable Richard Weekes said in a deposition.

An order to seize the money gave police three months to keep the money while criminal charges were investigated. That order expired in January, and no charges were ever laid. By April 16 the Canada Revenue Agency decided it was entitled to $28,901 in unpaid taxes on the funds. Weekes and the attorney general filed with the Ontario Superior Court to keep the remaining $46,078.46. Justice David M. Brown was not impressed with the request.

“First, I am troubled by the five month delay in bringing this motion,” Brown wrote. “The Criminal Code creates a regime for the detention of seized property. The Civil Remedies Act establishes a civil regime to deal with property, including seized property, that is the proceeds of, or an instrument of, unlawful activity. These regimes enable prosecutors, peace officers or the Attorney General of Ontario to apply for the continued detention or the interlocutory preservation of seized property. However, they do not permit those government actors to detain seized property without some form of legal authorization.”

When OPP applied to keep the money, it failed to inform the court that it gave away some of the cash to Canada Revenue. Brown scolded the police for acting without clear legal authority.

“Would Mr. Petran, as taxpayer, have enjoyed a basis to resist payment of a demand from the Canada Revenue Agency?” Brown asked. “One cannot tell because the materials are silent on the point. For one government agency to distribute to another property it did not own, without notice to the purported owner of the property or without the sanction of a court order, may strike those agencies as an efficient, uncluttered way in which to collect tax. But the Attorney General of Ontario should understand that such conduct, absent adequate explanatory evidence, will raise questions in the mind of a court about the propriety and legality of such conduct.”

Despite not buying Petran’s story, Brown found he had no choice but to dismiss the confiscation request with prejudice and order the reasons for this denial to be delivered to Petran.

The decision is available in a 40k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Attorney General of Ontario v. CDN. $46,078.46 (Superior Court of Justice, Ontario, Canada, 7/5/2010)


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13 Comments on “Canada: Court Faults Police Cash Grab...”

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    This is Canadian currency.

    Regardless, mark it down as just another government system failure. No civil servants will be fired.

    • 0 avatar

      First off Gardiner is right the photo is US currency. I would send you a photo of CDN money,but I don’t have any.

      You see the Canada Revenue Agency ,or the CRA, if you will, took all mine. The CRA has no bounderies,if they suspect you have 12 cents of thier money,they will harass you from the planet. They don’t care who, or what, made the error. Even if it was thier mistake,they won’t own up to it. As Gardiner pointed out accounability doesn’t exsist.

      Enough of that. I feel my blood preasure rising just seeing the letters…. CRA.

      End of rant.

      Okay, The dude made two mistakes. Driving around with that much cash in you car,is asking for trouble. Mistake number two..nobody drives slow on the 401. Doing less than 100 klms{62mph} will get you killed. I driven that stretch a lot, I hold it at 125-130 Klms {80} mph. Driving slow? No wonder the OPP pulled him over.

      BTW.. I don’t buy his story either.

    • 0 avatar

      FWIW – Canadian currency looks just like Monopoly money except instead of a dead guy’s picture we’ve put a picture of a big barrel of oil on the front.

      Note: Except in Quebec where it’s a picture of a stripper.

  • avatar

    Actually, it’s the Canadian politicians and the Parlimentary dictatorship system that takes all your money by implementying tax hikes without debate.

    Revenue Canada is merely the collection plate.

    Regardless, this instance was mroe the OPP’s doing than anyone else’s.

  • avatar

    Gee, I though everything ran like a swiss watch up there in Canada. Who knew?

  • avatar

    Well, as Karl Marx predicted, Socialism evolves into Communism.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, you’ve certainly got my vote for non sequitur of the day.

    • 0 avatar

      We’re Communist now? Really? Wow, I didn’t notice. Does this mean I’m now entitled to the same share of GDP as Jim Balsille?

    • 0 avatar

      OK, let me just get this all out of the way:

      “This would never have happened before muslim OBAMA made socialist healthcare! The US is being overrun by immigrants and BLOWBAMA is ILLEGAL too! Only a LIBTARD MOONBAT would support canadian cash seizure by the FEDS!!! Lefties are TAKING OUR RIGHTS and OBAMA hates America and loves terrorists and immigrants who will RUN THE DEATH PANELS!”

      Now we can get back to the cars, right?

  • avatar

    This is about the government arbitrarily confiscating large sums of cash from people for dubious reasons. There was no proof that it was ill-gotten, but they took the cash anyway because “it could have been”. So where’s the proof?

    The fact that the CRA took their pound of flesh from these “confiscated” funds suggests this was nothing more than an arbitrary cash grab. The highway robbers now come with uniforms and state sanction.

    And in a way, it proves a little theory I’ve always had. I’ve always thought that governments really doesn’t want citizens to conduct business with any type of currency that does NOT leave a “paper trail” for the authorities to follow. $70k CAD can be easily traced and kept accounted for when it’s in checks or on a debit card, but not when it’s in a bundle of loose bills.

    • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar

      If it’s like the US, the confiscated property must prove that it wasn’t the product of illegal enterprise (the legal action is actually brought against the property). The person who thinks the property is his – the government knows better – can try to prove in court that the property wasn’t the result of illegal activities. Notice where the burden of proof shifts from the government proving that the property was illegally obtained to the non-accused proving that the property is legally his, bought with money that he earned honestly.

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