December 27, 2006

Dec. 27, 2006: Justice or legality?

Do photos lie?

How strange. There appear to be photos of the drugs taken at the scene; yet, Charges dropped in pot case

Conviction of five men from seized ship unlikely, Crown says
, Richard Watts, CanWest, December 23, 2006

www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/sto
ry.html?id=b9c84716-2226-41a0-8a11-529ea45027d6&k=15584

UCLUELET I All charges have been dropped against five men arrested aboard a fishing boat the RCMP said was attempting to import $6.5 million in marijuana to B.C.

When police arrested the five and seized the 47-metre MV Baku in Ucluelet May 22, they laid out on the dock 633 kg of marijuana they discovered inside the ship.

... pictures of the marijuana bales ... organized crime.


Now the Crown has entered stays of proceedings on all the charges because there is little likelihood of convictions.

Robert Prior, regional director of the federal office of public prosecutions, ... evidence seized would not be admissible in court. ...

Jim Heller, a Victoria defence lawyer representing one of the five, said he believes some legal issues arose over the original search of the vessel.

For example, Heller said police sent in people from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans instead of police officers to conduct the first search. Some doubts also ... [Who doubted? Why? It does not appear that justice is being served. Marijuana was found. We know the RCMP have been under-manned so what is wrong with using help? The evidence was clearly there to see. Or is a political party planning on legalizing marijuana, perhaps having that as part of an election platform, and this would not fit in right now? Just a guess.]

Now all charges of importing a controlled substance have been dropped against Phil Stirling, 52, a registered owner of the Baku, formerly of Metchosin but more recently living near Chase.

Similar charges have also been dropped against Sean Michael Cochrane, 36, of Alberta; Ralph Ross Harris, 66, of Ladysmith; John Edward Corbin, 46, of Chase; and Walberto Armenta-Ruelas, 40, of Sonora, Mexico.

This isn't the first time a vessel that Stirling, Corbin and Cochrane were involved with has been seized. In 2001, Stirling was owner of a boat called Western Wind. Corbin was engineer and Cochrane was also aboard. The Western Wind was seized in the Juan de Fuca Strait with 2.5 tonnes of cocaine worth an estimated $250 million hidden in the bow. No charges were laid in connection with the seizure.

Baku crew members have been long released on bail except for Armenta-Ruelas.

... immigration regulations.

... a deckhand hired in Mexico.


Meanwhile, John Green, the Victoria lawyer representing Stirling, [....]
10 tonnes of rotten fish ...

According to officers at the time, cameras were inserted into false bulkheads and partitions to locate the marijuana hidden in disguised compartments and false rooms.

Police said they had been tracking Baku from October 2005. The vessel left Halifax in December 2005, headed down the coast, through the Panama Canal and up the coast to Vancouver Island. [....]

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