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Canada Skirks Its Duty in Prince of Pot Case


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If the deal goes through, Emery will avoid being extradited to the U.S. to face trial there, where he would face a minimum 10-year sentence, and a maximum of life in prison if convicted.

The deal seems a good one for Vancouver's self-styled Prince of Pot. Yet it shouldn't have been necessary, since Emery should never have faced extradition to the U.S.

The Treaty on Extradition Between Canada and the United States and Canada's Extradition Act require that two conditions be met before people in Canada can be sent to the U.S.

First, the offence with which they are charged in the U.S. must also be an offence in Canada, and second, they must not have been charged in Canada with the offence.

In Emery's case, the first condition appears to be met: Under the Criminal Code, selling marijuana seeds ( and money laundering ) are offences. This was affirmed by the B.C. Court of Appeal in R. v. Hunter in 2000. In fact, Emery himself was convicted of selling seeds in 1998.

Yet appearances can be deceiving. Since his conviction in 1998, Emery has brazenly continued selling seeds, yet police have done nothing about it. Nor have they tried to stop other seed dealers.

The police can hardly be blamed for their inaction, though, since the Canadian government has signalled that it doesn't consider Emery's actions illegal. After all, the feds were directing medical marijuana users to Emery's website until 2003.

Regardless of what the courts or the Criminal Code say, then, the government has de facto legalized the sale of marijuana seeds, and the first condition for extradition has not been met.

However, if we ignore the government's behaviour and rely on the courts and the Criminal Code, then the first condition has been met. We must then consider the second, which has also been met, since Emery has not been charged in Canada. But this raises the question: Why not?

Had he been charged, the second condition would not have been met, and he would not have faced extradition. Hence the reason Emery is facing a five-year prison sentence -- with no parole eligibility, which makes it the equivalent of a 15-year sentence -- is not because the U.S. is enforcing the law, but because Canada refuses to.

This is an unacceptable situation. It's time for Canadian authorities to accept their responsibility by either enforcing the laws on the books or removing them altogether.

Source: Vancouer Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Contace: sunletters@png.canwest.com
Website: canada.com
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