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Judge Hands Freedom to Pot-hauling Trucker


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A Toronto area commercial trucker accused of smuggling 21 kilograms of pot across the Ambassador Bridge appeared to not believe his ears when a judge ruled Monday there was insufficient evidence for a conviction.

It took a few minutes before reality sunk in and Pius Idahosa, 36, realized he wasn't going to jail.

When it finally hit him outside Superior Court Justice Mary Nolan's courtroom that he was a free man, he struggled to a lobby chair before bursting into tears and sobbing loudly with relief.

"Thank you, Jesus. She is an honest judge," he said of Nolan.

The judge had serious questions about parts of Idahosa's story but concluded the prosecution hadn't presented a solid enough case for conviction.

"Because I'm left with a doubt, I must give him the benefit of that doubt," said Nolan.

Canadian border agents discovered the large stash of baled pot, worth an estimated $206,000, in a hockey bag in the cab of Idahosa's rig on April 15, 2005.

Idahosa took the stand himself during his recent three-day trial and testified there were many drivers who had access to a number of keys to his truck, one of many similar-looking vehicles in his company's fleet. He said it had been left unattended over a two-day period, and the court heard the duffle bag with its well-wrapped contents had been in the truck for 10 days before the bust.

Problems With Testimony

But the judge also noted problems with Idahosa's testimony.

Idahosa's last trip had been arranged by his company after he said he needed a route through Illinois to visit his sick aunt in a Chicago hospital.

After his request was accommodated, he said his aunt was no longer in hospital. Idahosa was unable to tell the court where his aunt lives or what hospital she was in.

The judge also wasn't satisfied with how Idahosa explained two $5,000 payments to his mother in Nigeria in the previous weeks to pay for a home.

Idahosa said it was proceeds from the sale of his Mercedes, but Nolan said the accused was "quite confused" when discussing his "unexplained wealth" and how he originally afforded that vehicle.

"She weighed all the angles," Idahosa said outside the courtroom after Monday's verdict. As defence lawyer Andrew Bradie exited the courtroom, Idahosa abruptly interrupted a cellphone conversation with his wife so that he could give him a big bear hug.

"Her honour gave a thoughtful and well-reasoned judgment. The Crown respects the decision of the court," prosecutor Richard Pollock said when asked whether an appeal would be considered.

Newshawk: StonerGrower4 - 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Mapinc.org
Author: Doug Schmidt
Contact: letters@thestar.canwest.com
Copyright: 2007 The Windsor Star
Website: MAP: Drug News Index
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