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

Just Posted

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigating after man found dead in South Surrey following a wellness check

IIO says officers ‘reportedly spoke to a man at the home before departing’

Surrey RCMP in the 4900-block of 148th Street, a short road just off of King George Boulevard, on May 15, 2021 after a male was allegedly assaulted with a “pipe-like” weapon that morning. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey RCMP investigating after person reportedly injured with ‘pipe-like’ weapon

Police investigating incident in the 4900-block of 148th Street

The leadership team at Johnston Heights Secondary is looking to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society through the Relay for Life, planned as an online and in-person event (following COVID-19 restrictions) for the week of June 1 to 7.
Pushed back a year, Surrey students well on their way to Relay for Life fundraising goal

Johnston Heights Leadership Team aims to raise $6,500 for Canadian Cancer Society

A detail of White Rock artist Marilyn Dyer's painting New Mountains, one of her works in the show Delineations at Surrey Art Gallery until June 6
White Rock artist Marilyn Dyer featured in SAG show

Dyer and Vancouver sculptor Gailan Ngan team for Delineations exhibit

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his ‘Community Connections’ videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Doug Stone

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

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

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Most Read