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The Queen v. B.(R.) 2021 (Hinton, Alberta)

 The client was pulled over travelling through Jasper Alberta for having illegal window tints on his vehicle.  When the officer began writing the ticket he noticed that the client had been the subject of numerous drug trafficking investigations in the past.  This obviously raised the officer’s suspicions and he decided to detain the client for a drug investigation.  The officer had his police service K9 with him and deployed the dog on the vehicle to conduct a “sniff search” of the seams of the vehicle.  After doing almost a dozen laps of the vehicle with the dog and doing seemingly almost everything he could to get the dog to provide a “sit” confirmation to indicate the presence of drugs in the vehicle, the dog finally sat.  On that basis the officer arrested the client and searched the vehicle to find about 75 pounds of marihuana , half a kilogram of cocaine, and about 2000 THC oil “vape pens”.  The client was charged accordingly and given that the charges were in Alberta likely faced a 4-5 year jail sentence if convicted.  After being retained Mr. van der Walle reviewed the video of the dog sniff search carefully and came to the conclusion that the officer had not conducted the sniff search in a reliable way as he had used his voice and his gestures to encourage the dog to sit throughout the search.  Mr. van der Walle retained a former police officer from California with over 30 years experience training police dogs to conduct searches who provided his opinion that the search was indeed unreliable.  A couple of months before trial Mr. van der Walle filed his Notice of Constitutional argument alleging that the arrest was illegal because it was based primarily on the unreliable dog sniff search.  Thankfully, the Crown prosecutor agreed and withdrew all the charges a few weeks prior to the trial.  Not guilty on all charges.  No trial necessary.  


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