Monday, January 21, 2008
NEW BRUNSWICKER IS DISGUSTED WITH THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN THIS PROVINCE!!!
Sent to the Telegraph JOurnal. Times Transcript and Daily Gleaner.....................
Can you please enlighten me on the workings of the New Brunswick judicial system? As a native of New Brunswick , like many others I left the province for work. Now firmly entrenched in my chosen career I have often contemplating relocating to my indigenous province; however after a glance at your newspaper I now have great reservations. How is it that a conscientious police force results in a criminal going free? As any worker knows a job best done is one that is assessed, planned, implemented, evaluated and re-planed if necessary. By being conscientious and evaluating her work ie looking at the photos to ensure she does not send an innocent man to jail, this policewomen’s actions resulted in what appears, for all intense and purposes ,a guilty man going free. If your judicial system is plagued with criminally sympathetic judges I believe I should remain a native of your Province and not a resident. As I am raising my own children now and know all too well how the drug world leads to abuse, prostitution, crime and apparently lack of punishment in New Brunswick, your province will remain for me a nice place to visit with my windows rolled up and my children safely off your streets.
A visitor not a local
MONCTON TIMES TRANSCRIPT
Judge acquits man of drug trafficking
Court rules there was reasonable doubt accused was man who sold drugs to undercover officer
Published Thursday January 17th2008
Appeared on page A7
An undercover police officer's visual identification of a suspect was not enough to convict him of drug trafficking according to a Court of Queen's Bench judge.
Correll Mitchell stood trial on Nov. 21-22 before Justice Stephen McNally in Moncton on two counts of trafficking cocaine in March 2006. Sylvie Godin-Blanchard was the prosecutor while Kelly Serbu represented the defendant.
McNally reserved his decision in the case but delivered his verdict on Jan. 10 acquitting Mitchell on both counts.
In his written decision McNally said there was reasonable doubt as to whether the accused was the man who sold drugs to the undercover officer.
The charges stemmed from an undercover operation conducted by Codiac RCMP's Drug Section in early 2006 designed to battle street level drug sales in Moncton.. Part of the operation involved Const. Marion Yakubow being brought in from outside the Moncton area to go undercover and purchase drugs from suspected traffickers.
Yakubow was briefed by local officers in late February 2006 and given profiles and descriptions of 29 targets, one of whom was Mitchell. She was shown photos of Mitchell dating back to 2003 and given a phone number he was suspected of using.
She called the number and met one individual for a drug sale on March 32006but it wasn't Mitchell.
On March 9 she bought $50 worth of cocaine from an individual in a parking lot at St. George Street and Lutz Street arranging the meeting with the same phone number. The seller pulled up in a large dark colour Cadillac and sold the officer a half-gram of crack.
The transaction took place in about 30 seconds through the car window.
After the buy Yakubow gave a detailed description of the suspect during a debriefing. In court she identified Mitchell as the seller saying there was "no doubt in her mind that he was the same person" according to McNally's decision.
A second transaction took place on March 16 under similar circumstances and the officer again identified the seller as Mitchell. The next time she attempted to buy cocaine the dealer accused her of being a cop and wanted her to smoke some crack so he could take photos of her doing so. She cursed at him and left the vehicle.
The officer identified Mitchell as the driver of the car in this instance as well.
On March 30,2006 Mitchell was arrested while driving a dark colour Cadillac and charges were laid.
During the trial Yakubow told the court she reviewed a photo of the accused prior to giving testimony at the preliminary hearing and trial"just to be sure."
While she told the judge she was "100 per cent sure" Mitchell sold her the drugs the fact she looked at his photo prior to testifying was a problem.
"In my view her confirmation that she reviewed Mitchell's arrest photograph immediately prior to her trial testimony 'just to be sure' betrays this level of certainty" wrote McNally in his decision adding that it created reasonable doubt in his mind with respect to the reliability and correctness of her visual identification.
The judge wrote that the undercover officer's meetings with the dealer were quick and held under stressful circumstances.
Also the dealer's head was partially covered by a hood during the first two meetings. The judge said her descriptions were "fairly generic and would likely apply to a good number of adult male persons of colour."
The judge said her identification of Mitchell as the offender would have been stronger had Yakubow picked him out of a photo lineup after the drug deals.
Also the fact he was arrested driving the Cadillac was not enough for the judge to conclude he was the driver at the time of the transactions.