In the Chan case, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ordered forfeiture of a 2003 Nissan Sentra which had been used in a drug trafficking operation. The Defendant had been charged under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and could not attend the civil forfeiture hearing because he was incarcerated at the time.
The court found that Mr. Chan had been served with the necessary ex parte documents and was aware of the proceedings against his vehicle. The fact that he could not attend the hearing in person was not a barrier to forfeiture.
This case demonstrates the ease with which the Crown can proceed with obtaining a forfeiture order, particularly when the Defendant is not available to participate in the hearing. It also demonstrates the prejudice that can caused to an accused person by the “double jeopardy” of both criminal and civil proceedings against them for the same alleged offence.
Decided by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench on May 21, 2009.
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