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

Judy and Ken Reid share a smile at Peace Arch Hospital in 2018. Judy raised concerns last month about how the COVID-19 vaccine would be rolled out. Now, she says no one is telling residents or families when they will start to see restrictions ease. (Contributed photo)
Timeline for reduced restrictions in long-term care a concern for spouse of South Surrey senior

‘We’re not yet at that point,’ says provincial health officer

Gurinder Mann. (Submitted photo)
Surrey man receives prestigious restorative justice award

East Newton resident Gurinder Mann one of five to receive a Community Safety and Crime Prevention Award

TEASE PHOTO: Teens at the Bumpers dance club in Whalley in the 1980s, in a photo posted to the "Bumpers / The Zone OFFICIAL Party Page" on Facebook.com.
SURREY NOW & THEN: Bumpers and other teen dance clubs were big in the 1980s

A weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites and events

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey Police Service looking to hire in-house lawyer

Solicitor to work within Office of the Chief Constable, serve on internal and external committees to ‘represent the SPS’s interests’

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

Most Read