Canada: Court Faults Police Cash Grab

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper
canada court faults police cash grab

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.

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


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7 of 13 comments
  • Wsn Wsn on Sep 01, 2010

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

    • See 2 previous
    • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Sep 01, 2010

      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?

  • John Williams John Williams on Sep 01, 2010

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Lumbergh21 Lumbergh21 on Sep 01, 2010

      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.

  • Alan I blame COVID, the chip shortage, container shortage and the war in Ukraine. This aggression is evident in normal daily driving of late.
  • Alan $10 000 is a bit rich for a vehicle that most likely been flogged all its life, plus it's a VW. Lots of electrical gremlins live in them.
  • Alan Mitsubishi, Hino and Izuzu trucks are quite common in Australia. Another factor that needs to be taken into account are the cheap Chinese trucks and vans that are entering the market in Australia and becoming more popular as reliability improves, with huge warranties. Businesses want the cheapest logistics. Plumbers, concreters, builders buy many of these in their lightest versions, around 2.5 tonne payload. Hino/Toyota could use the cheaper competitor in Mitsubishi as a competitor against the Chinese. You don't see too many of the Japanese/Asian trucks in the rural areas.
  • 2ACL I think it's a good choice. The E89 didn't get respect due to its all-around focus when new, but it's aged well, and the N52/6HP combo is probably more fun and capable than it's given credit for.
  • Wjtinfwb I can hear the ticking from here...