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.
The court engaged in extensive analysis of the credibility of various witnesses, including several members of the Hurtubise family who owned interests in the properties, as well as various tenants. As a result of this analysis, Justice Weatherill determined that one of the properties (on Greenwood Drive) was to be forfeit in full to the Director of Civil Forfeiture, but that full forfeiture of the other property (on Dewdney Trunk Road) was clearly not in the interests of justice. Instead, Justice Weatherill ordered that a 1/5 interest should be transferred to the Director, while the other 4/5 should be preserved for members of the Hurtubise family who were not directly involved in the marijuana grow operation.
Overall, the Hurtubise case demonstrates that British Columbia’s judiciary are more than willing to impose harsh forfeiture orders against those implicated in marijuana grow operations, but that there is always the potential for partial relief from forfeiture when Defendants can demonstrate that they were lacking in culpability.
Decided by the BC Supreme Court on September 18, 2012.
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