By Tara Bradbury
A Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court judge has ruled evidence in a drug trafficking case — 62 pounds of marijuana — inadmissible at the trial of one of two men charged.
As a result, 29-year-old Matthew Bernard McGuire of Mount Pearl left the St. John’s courthouse cleared of the charges Thursday morning, while his co-accused remained to stand trial.
McGuire was acquitted of charges of trafficking marijuana and possessing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, which were withdrawn by the Crown after Justice Robert Stack ruled in favour of an application made by McGuire’s lawyer, Erin Breen.
Breen had argued that McGuire’s rights had been violated during the police investigation and arrest two years ago — specifically, his rights under two sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that deal with arbitrary detainment and unreasonable searches.
Stack agreed. He dismissed, however, an application from the lawyer for McGuire’s co-accused.
Representing 27-year-old Curtis Alexander Wasylow from Vancouver, Bob Buckingham had argued a breach of his client’s rights as well, but under a different section of the Charter: one that deals with an accused’s right to retain and instruct a lawyer.
Afrer McGuire left the court, the trial for Wasylow began.
A third man, 29-year-old Kelly Aaron Poulin of Maple Ridge, B.C., was also arrested and charged. He pleaded guilty and his case was sent to B.C. to be dealt with in provincial court there.
The trafficking charge was withdrawn and Poulin was sentenced Oct. 7, 2016 in Port Coquitlam on the charge of possessing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. He received an 18-month jail term and has since been released.
Members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), a police team consisting of RNC and RCMP officers, arrested Poulin, McGuire and Wasylow May 13, 2015, after a search of a St. John’s hotel room and a vehicle turned up a suitcase full of weed and more; 62 pounds in total.