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The police in Montreal executed a search warrant on a suspected member of the Irish mafia’s home and discovered a number of “ghost guns”, which are guns that have no serial number and are thus untraceable.  During the search the police found an invoice and receipt from a corporation that operated out of Penticton BC.  The documentation suggested that the corporation had been selling a specific kind of gun frame that could be turned into Glock style handguns to this Mafiosi.  The problem for the corporation was that these frames met the adaptability aspect of the definition of “firearm” in the Criminal Code and as such if even the frame was sold without the additional parts needed to turn it into a functioning handgun they still needed to be properly registered and given a serial number.  It turned out none of the frames sold to this alleged mobster had been serialized or properly registered.  The Combined Special Forces Unit of the BC RCMP (CFSEU)  took up the investigation in Penticton and soon after search warrants were executed at the corporation’s business premises as well as the homes of a number of employees and the owners.  As a result of the search the corporation was charged with illegal firearm trafficking and the owners and employees were also personally charged with a  number of offences related to specific guns that were found during the searches that were either not stored properly or possessed without proper registration.  The corporation and the owner retained Mr. van der Walle and he went to work defending the case.  The Crown was slow to provide full disclosure to the defence and because of the excessive delays this caused Mr. van der Walle filed a Notice of Constitutional Motion alleging that the corporation and the owners right to a  trial within a reasonable time was violated.  An additional Notice of Constitutional Motion was filed alleging that the search warrants had been improperly issued and were therefore invalid.  As the trial approached the Crown, much to his credit, saw the merit in the defence’s constitutional arguments and offered to drop all the criminal charges against the corporation and the owners and employees if the corporation pled guilty to a regulatory offence under the Competition Act.  As a result the corporation paid a fine and was able to keep all of its firearm business operating licenses and was able to stay in business.  All criminal charges dropped against the corporation and the individuals.  No trial necessary.

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