Civil Forfeiture in Ontario

Governed by Ontario’s Civil Remedies Act, S.O. 2001, CHAPTER 28

A.G. Ontario v. Kittiwake Sailboat, 2015 ONSC 6106 – Impaired Operation of Sailboat Outside Proper Scope of Civil Forfeiture Legislation

The Attorney General of Ontario sought forfeiture of a sailboat on the basis that its owner, Valentin Chygyrynskyy “was seen operating his sailboat in Toronto harbour … struck a moored power boat [then] was observed falling out of his boat into the water.” Mr. Chygyrynskyy provided breath samples of “158 mgs and 147 mgs of alcohol per 100 ml of blood,” almost twice the legal limit. Continue reading

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Ontario (Attorney General) v $205,100 In Canadian Currency (In Rem), 2015 ONSC 2097 – Ontario Court Rubber-Stamps Speculative Forfeiture Claim

The Attorney General of Ontario applied for a preservation order pertaining to $205,100 in cash, seized from the Defendant’s apartment. The money was allegedly “tainted with the odour of controlled substances,” although the Attorney General presented no direct evidence as to the origin of the money. 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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Ontario (Attorney General) v. $104,877 in U.S. Currency, 2013 ONSC 2955 – Defendant Entitled to Use Seized Cash for Legal Defence

The Defendant, Alexander Bourgeois, was subject to criminal charges for over ten years after he was intercepted at Pearson International Airport carrying a small quantity of cocaine and $104,877 in US cash. He claimed that the cash was lawfully acquired and the criminal charges were eventually dropped. Continue reading

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Attorney General of Ontario v. 714 Railton Avenue, 2013, ONSC 1291 – Forfeiture After Conviction Has Punitive Component

The Attorney General applied for forfeiture of a house in London, Ontario on the grounds that it had been used to facilitate a 342-plant marijuana grow operation. The homeowner, Russell Dowdle, claimed that the marijuana in his home was for personal use, but Justice Rady of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice disbelieved his testimony on this point, concluding at paragraph 53 of the decision that “The only reasonable inference to be drawn is that Mr. Dowdle was engaged in a commercial enterprise to generate income.” Continue reading

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ATTY.-GEN. (ONT.) v. $51,000 CDN. (IN REM), 2013 ONSC 1321 – Forfeiture of Life Insurance Proceeds Not in the Interests of Justice Where Intent Not Criminal

Ved Dhingra had been prosecuted for the second degree murder of his wife, Kamlesh Dhingra. Mr. Dhingra was found not criminally responsible for the murder on the grounds of severe schizophrenia. Continue reading

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Ontario (Attorney General) v. $51,000 CDN (in rem), 2012 ONSC 4958

The Ontario Civil Remedies for Illicit Activities office applied for an interim preservation order of a $51,000 life insurance policy on the grounds that the beneficiary of the life insurance policy (Ved Dhingra) had killed the policyholder, his estranged wife Kamlesh Dhingra. A jury found that Mr. Dhingra was not criminally responsible for the killing due to severe mental health problems. Mr. Dhingra’s counsel therefore argued that he should be entitled to the $51,000 life insurance payout. The Attorney General, on the other hand, argued that the funds should be transferred to the province as “proceeds of unlawful activity.” Continue reading

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Attorney General of Ontario v. 2000 Mercedes Benz, 2012 ONSC 3182

This case involved a number of vehicles, a home, and bank accounts owned by the Defendants, Arif and Sanjida Syed. The provincial government had established that there was a serious issue to be tried and thereby obtained an interim preservation order preventing the Defendants from selling the items in question. The Defendants argued that they were behind on their expenses and deeply in debt and should be allowed to access their equity in order to remedy this situation. Continue reading

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Ontario (Attorney General) v. Lee, 2011 ONCA 444

The Ontario Court of Appeal rejected this appeal by Wing Kwong Lee, whose home had been ordered forfeit after a large marijuana grow operation had been discovered there. Continue reading

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