British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v. Nguyen, 2014 BCCA 460 – “Interests of Justice” a Discretionary Inquiry

The Defendant, Vu Huy Nguyen, appealed an order for full forfeiture of his Vancouver residence. The property in question was used as a “sophisticated” marijuana grow operation and was therefore found to be an instrument of unlawful activity, although “there was insufficient evidence to prove on a balance of probabilities that the Property was initially acquired directly or indirectly as a result of unlawful activity.” Continue reading

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Director of Civil Forfeiture v. Robinson and Allwright, 2014 BCSC 2083 – Director’s Frivolous Claim Puts Defendant to Unnecessary Expense

The Director of Civil Forfeiture sought an interim preservation order of a pickup truck after police received information “from a confidential source” that the truck was being driven by an intoxicated male who was prohibited from driving. By the time police caught up to the truck, the driver had allegedly switched seats with his female passenger, who was not intoxicated and was the lawful owner of the truck. Continue reading

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Director of Civil Forfeiture v. Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation, 2014 BCCA 330 – Director Must Disclose Wiretap Surveillance Information

The Director of Civil Forfeiture sought to appeal a Supreme Court Chambers judge’s decision to “unseal” various affidavits used to obtain authorizations for wiretap surveillance of the Nanaimo Hells Angels. Although the fruits of the surveillance had initially been used to lay criminal charges, those charges were later stayed, and the Civil Forfeiture Office sought to rely on the same information in support of a bid to seize the Hells Angels clubhouse in Nanaimo. Continue reading

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British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v. Crowley, 2014 BCSC 1481 – Director Fails to Show that Full Forfeiture in Interest of Justice

The Crowley case was sent back to the BC Supreme Court for consideration of the interests of justice. The BC Court of Appeal determined that Supreme Court judge in a previous hearing had erred in failing to consider the interests of justice before granting default judgement to the Director of Civil Forfeiture. Continue reading

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British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v. Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation, 2014 BCCA 207

British Columbia’s Director of Civil Forfeiture applied to remove one the last remaining personal defendants as a party to the long-running Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation case in an apparent attempt to evade Charter arguments which might be available to individuals but unavailable to the corporate defendant: Continue reading

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Ontario (Attorney General) v. 714 Railton Avenue, 2014 ONCA 397 – Criminal Sentencing Relevant to “Interests of Justice” Defence

The Railton Avenue appeal involved judicial consideration of the scope of the “interests of justice defence,” and specifically the implications of the criminal sentencing process in determining whether a given forfeiture application is “contrary to the interests of justice.” Continue reading

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Ontario (Attorney General) v. 20 Strike Avenue, 2014 ONCA 395 – Court Refuses Forfeiture of Father’s Property Based on Son’s Drug Use

In Strike Avenue, the Ontario Court of Appeal considered the “interests of justice” exemption from forfeiture in circumstances where a property owner had rented a home to his son, who was involved in the drug trade. Continue reading

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British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v. Johnson, 2014 BCCA 268 – Trial Judge Retains Significant Discretion Over Charter Litigation Procedure

The Johnson case involved an application for leave to appeal from a summary trial decision, in which the Defendants’ Charter challenge was found to be inappropriate for summary determination. The Defendants sought to appeal the decision on the basis that the warrant to search the subject property “was unlawfully issued, unreasonably executed, and that all the evidence derived from the search was obtained in breach of the Johnsons’ Charter rights.” Continue reading

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British Columbia (Director, Civil Forfeiture Act) v. Wong, 2014 BCSC 359 – Director Freezes Defendant’s Accounts Despite Prior Civil Settlement

The Defendants, Arthur and Jessie Wong, were accused of defrauding their employer, Unique Real Estate Accommodations Inc., for upwards of $350,000. The Director of Civil Forfeiture sought an Interim Preservation Order, so as to effectively freeze the contents of the Defendants’ bank accounts. Continue reading

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Director of Civil Forfeiture v. Lloydsmith, 2014 BCCA 72 – Pre-Trial Charter Applications Allowable in Civil Forfeiture Context

In a landmark decision which will no doubt set the procedural framework for many civil forfeiture cases to come, the BC Court of Appeal upheld the “bifurcation” decision of Mr. Justice Leask, endorsing the idea that constitutional issues involving the exclusion of evidence may be heard in advance of a trial on the merits of a given case. Continue reading

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