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The client was pulled over just outside of Hinton, Alberta driving a rental SUV.  Upon approaching the window, the officer smelled what he referred to as “fresh marihuana” and arrested the client on that basis.  A search of the interior of the vehicle revealed a large black hockey style bag in the trunk area that ended up containing a very large wholesale quantity of marihuana.  Charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking followed.  The client hired Mr. van der Walle and pleas of not guilty were entered.  At the preliminary inquiry, the defence was able to establish a strong evidentiary foundation to later argue at trial that the client’s rights were violated by an illegal arrest, illegal search, and when the officer failed to provide the client with an opportunity to call a lawyer even though he requested to call a lawyer at least twice during the roadside stop.  The prosecutor saw merit in the defence’s position and much to his credit accepted a plea of guilty to the lesser offence of personal use possession.  The client was fined $2500 as punishment.  No jail time, no house arrest, and no probation.  Not guilty of possession for the purpose of trafficking.  No trial necessary.  

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