Civil Forfeiture in British Columbia

Governed by BC’s Civil Forfeiture Act, [SBC 2005] CHAPTER 29

British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v. Huynh, 2013 BCSC 980 – Civil Forfeiture Engages “Exactly the Same Charter Principles” as Criminal Law

The Huynh case involved a civil forfeiture action based on a critically-flawed search warrant, which had been obtained on the basis of inaccurate and erroneous information which failed to disclose reasonable grounds that unlawful activity had occurred. The Defendant had … Continue reading

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Director of Civil Forfeiture v. Huynh, 2013 BCSC 87

Trinh Tu Huynh, defendant in a civil forfeiture action against a home in Surrey, had subpoenaed Leslie LeClair, a Crown prosecutor who had stayed criminal charges against her in connection with the same marijuana grow operation alleged in the civil forfeiture action. The Director of Civil Forfeiture applied to set aside the subpoena of Mr. LeClair, arguing that the court could not make inquiries into the discretion of Crown Counsel. Continue reading

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Director of Civil Forfeiture v. Wolff, 2012 BCCA 473 – Court of Appeal Affirms “Interests of Justice” Defence

In its review of the decision of Mr. Justice Metzger of the BC Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal considered the nature and the extent of the “interests of justice” defence codified in Section 6(1) of British Columbia’s Civil Forfeiture Act. Continue reading

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British Columbia (Civil Forfeiture) v. Vo, 2012 BCSC 1476

British Columbia’s Director of Civil Forfeiture applied to amend its Notice of Civil Claim so as to add a new Defendant, add a new subject property, and allege new details in regard to the Defendant’s financial dealings. The Defendant, Hong Thu Thi Vo, opposed these amendments, and put forward an argument that the Director’s allegations disclosed no reasonable cause of action. Continue reading

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Director of Civil Forfeiture v. Trimble, 2012 BCSC – “Suspicions are not Evidence”

The Defendant, Wesley Trimble, a Canadian citizen who for many years resided had resided on a sailboat, was subject to a civil forfeiture action when he arrived in Canadian waters without making a customs declaration. After approximately 10 days in Canada, his vessel was the subject of a search in which approximately $47,000 in Canadian currency was located. Several years earlier, Mr. Trimble had been accused of drug trafficking in Costa Rica, but had been acquitted. Continue reading

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Director of Civil Forfeiture v. Hurtubise, 2012 BCSC 1368 (CanLII)

The Hurtubise case made for a complex balancing act involving the interests of various part-owners of two properties in Mission, BC on which marijuana grow operations had been located. The court had to consider whether and to what extent forfeiture of the properties would be contrary to the interests of justice. Continue reading

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British Columbia (Civil Forfeiture Act, Director) v. Ngo, 2012 BCSC 1009

The Ngo case involved an appeal from the decision of a Master, holding that the desk order requisition process is not available as a means for the Director of Civil Forfeiture to achieve default judgement for forfeiture in circumstances where a Defendant has failed to file a defence. Continue reading

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Director of Civil Forfeiture v. Huynh, 2012 BCSC 740

Counsel for the Defendant, Trinh Tu Huyuh, argued that serious problems with a search warrant pertaining to Ms. Huyuh’s property (where a marijuana grow operation was discovered) had resulted in numerous Charter breaches, leading to a stay of proceedings in the criminal case against her. The question at issue was whether the court would allow the equivalent of a constitutional voir dire in the civil forfeiture action against Ms. Huyuh’s property, potentially resulting in the exclusion of evidence in advance of a full trial on the merits. Continue reading

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British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v. Wolff, 2012 BCSC 100

The Defendant had been found in possession of marijuana and pled guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking, although he stated (and crown counsel accepted at the time of his plea) that he was a “blind mule,” unaware of the marijuana until shortly before being stopped by police. Based on the totality of the evidence, BC Supreme Court Justice Metzger was satisfied that the Defendant was a generally law-abiding individual, that his offence was an isolated one-time incident, and that he had no connection with organized crime. Continue reading

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British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v. Kingdon, 2011 BCSC 1501

In Kingdon, the Director of Civil Forfeiture applied for default judgement against three Defendants, Kingdon, Yu, and Shulte, on the grounds that they had not filed Responses objecting to the Director’s respective Notices of Civil Claim. Continue reading

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