This case involved a couple, John Stephen Nock and Connie Marie Nock, who owned a house in Woodstock, Ontario. Mr. Nock was found to be cultivating marijuana on the property, in a grow operation worth approximately $40,000 at the time he was caught.
Mr. Nock claimed that he was cultivating the marijuana for personal use, that he had no intent to traffic, and that he had no idea when he planted the seeds that so much marijuana would grow. There was no evidence that Mr. Nock actually engaged in trafficking or sale of the marijuana. He pled guilty to this, his first offence, and received a conditional sentence of seven months.
Upon analysis of the evidence on the balance of probabilities, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice found that the home was an instrument of crime, but the Nocks’ equity in the home was not proceeds of crime. Madam Justice Rady further accepted Mrs. Nock’s testimony that she was unaware of the marijuana activity, and would have attempted to stop it had she known.
Despite the home’s status as an instrument of crime, Madam Justice Rady declined to order forfeiture of the home, stating that doing so was “clearly not in the interests of justice,” due to the disproportionate effect it would have on Mr. Nock’s wife and young daughter.
Decided by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on February 7, 2008.
Click here for the full text of the decision.