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Mystery Surrounds Dropped Pot Charges

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Drug charges against two Halifax County men have been dropped without explanation, just three weeks before they were to go to trial, The Chronicle Herald learned Thursday.

John Alfred Hardy, 50, of Ingramport and David Alex Banfield of Upper Tantallon were arrested after the RCMP discovered two men tending a marijuana crop on the Valley Road in Wentworth, Cumberland County, in October 2005.

The RCMP subsequently searched two houses in the area and discovered two large marijuana growing operations. Police seized 721 marijuana plants at one home and 362 at the other, as well as thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment used in the grow op and an undisclosed amount of money.

Mr. Hardy was charged with two counts each of unlawfully producing a controlled substance, possessing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and stealing electricity worth less than $5,000 from Nova Scotia Power. Mr. Banfield faced one count each of the same charges.

Although the federal Crown dropped the drug charges, the provincial Crown is still proceeding with the charges of theft of electricity against the two men. Their trial is to begin on Oct. 7 and is expected to last two days.

Mr. Hardy and Mr. Banfield have made several court appearances since their arrests in 2005. They initially elected trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court but later opted for a provincial court trial. Four days were set aside last November but the trial was postponed when defence lawyers Mark Knox and Jim O’Neil said they were having problems getting disclosure from the Crown. The trial was rescheduled for March but was again postponed because Mr. Hardy was working in the remote jungles of Thailand.

Judge Carole Beaton set aside dates next month but lawyer Doug Shatford told her during a pretrial conference on Tuesday that the federal Crown would not present any evidence on the drug charges at trial.

An audiotape of the hearing indicates the defence lawyers had been expecting to go ahead with the trial. Mr. Knox advised the court that he would make a charter challenge on Mr. Banfield’s behalf at the start of the trial when Mr. Shatford interrupted him and said he had been instructed not to offer any evidence at trial on the drug charges.

Mr. Shatford did not say on the tape who had issued the instructions or why the Crown had decided not to proceed with the drug case.

Judge Beaton then dismissed all the drug charges, after a request from Mr. Knox and Mr. O’Neil, Mr. Hardy’s lawyer.

Mr. O’Neil said in an interview Thursday that he wasn’t surprised at the turn of events because he has been involved in many cases where the Crown withdrew the charges shortly before trial.

Mr. Shatford and Mr. Knox could not be reached for comment Thursday.

News Hawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Nova Scotia News
Author: TOM McCOAG
Copyright: 2008 The Halifax Herald Limited
Contact: Nova Scotia News - TheChronicleHerald.ca
Website: Nova Scotia News - TheChronicleHerald.ca


New Member
I'll bet ther was some problem with the chain of custody or possibly the search warrant for entering the houses. Cops tend to screwup a lot.


New Member
I our great country using probable cause they can search if you wear too much after shave, it is considered a masking agent. How stupid is this shit going to get?
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