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Reimer Loses Court Battle

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Marijuana activist Rick Reimer has lost his day in court.

In a written decision released Thursday, Ottawa Justice C. McKinnon threw out the $3 million civil suit launched by the former Pembroke lawyer, who possesses a medical exemption to smoke, grow and cultivate marijuana to treat his Multiple Sclerosis.

The suit named Killaloe OPP officers Constable Tim Broder and Sergeant Dwayne Sears as well as the Ontario Crown attorney, citing wrongful arrest and detention and excessive use of force allegedly arising from an incident which occurred in the winter of 2002. At the time, Mr. Reimer had been openly smoking marijuana while conducting a television interview and when approached by police, refused to produce written proof he has a medical exemption for using the drug.

In his decision, Justice McKinnon said there is no evidence to back any of Mr. Reimer's claims of either excessive force or wrongful arrest except for his oral testimony.

While agreeing with the argument there is a parallel in law between the written medical exemption granted Mr. Reimer and a Minister's permit to remain in Canada under the Canadian Immigration Act, he said it is a stretch to assume because there is no legal requirement to present the immigration permit, the same would apply to a medical exception to smoke marijuana.

"It defies logic to suggest that an individual who is granted a ministerial exemption from the law of the country, which exemption is granted in writing, should not be required to produce the written document on demand to prove the exemption," Justice McKinnon said.

"He was the author of his own misfortune," the judge concluded. "Had he complied with the legal requirement to produce the exemption that he enjoyed, setting him apart from all other Canadians who are subject to the drug laws of this country, this unfortunate lawsuit could have been avoided. In refusing to comply with the legal demand, he triggered the events of which he complains.

"Unfortunately, his only reward shall be the publicity which he sought and obtained on the morning of March 27, 2002."

When contacted by phone, Mr. Reimer said he wasn't sure what his next step will be, as he needs time to fully digest the ruling and explore his options.

"I have not yet decided whether to appeal," he said. "I have only had the decision a few hours, and need time to speak with my lawyer and others."

Mr. Reimer said with all due respect to the judge, he still feels he doesn't need to produce documentation showing he is allowed to smoke marijuana even if asked to do so.

"The crucial issue is whether I was right or the police were right over this," he said.

"I read the law very carefully and I know without any doubt that I am right."

Mr. Reimer disagreed with the judge's assessment regarding his medical exemption.

"The judge equates 'common sense' to a legal requirement. In my respectful opinion, that is not the law in this country," he said.

"You shouldn't get arrested for having 'uncommon' sense, like refusing to speak to police, unless there is an explicit law identifying what 'common' sense means. That's why, for example, you can get a ticket for failing to carry your driver's licence, while the charge for driving if you've never had a licence is much more serious."

During the lawsuit proceedings held at the end of May, it was stated Mr. Reimer was at Killaloe court March 27, 2002 for a first appearance on an impaired driving charge laid Feb. 11, 2002, when he was stopped for smoking a marijuana cigarette while driving.

Before entering the court on March 27, Mr. Reimer met A-Channel videographer Doug Hempstead in the parking lot and conducted an interview about the case. With the camera rolling, Mr. Reimer was approached by Const. Broder who asked to see a copy of his medical exemption. During the conversation, the officer said he was aware of the plaintiff's exemption but he needed to see a copy of the letter. Mr. Reimer was arrested after he refused to give the officer the necessary documentation, claiming he is not required to produce the exemption on demand from a police officer.

Mr. Reimer claimed once inside the building, Const. Broder pushed his face up against the wall and twisted his arms behind his back to place him in handcuffs. He testified the pain was so great that he had to stand on his tip toes in an attempt to relieve the pressure, adding he experienced surges of pain periodically for the next nine months. He also testified the handcuffs were so tight he had lacerations on his wrists as well as a laceration on his left palm when his hand was removed from the door jam.

In his decision, Justice McKinnon said there is no medical reports, photographs, third party evidence or trips to the doctor to substantiate Mr. Reimer's complaints of abuse or pain suffered as a result thereof. The best evidence dealing with this allegation is the video tape of a follow-up interview with Mr. Reimer.

"After being released from his cell, Mr. Reimer made no complaint whatsoever about the use of excessive force. He is seen smiling, his wrists are visible and no abrasions are apparent," he said.

"I have no doubt that had excessive force been used, Mr. Reimer would have complained about the fact to the videographer, Mr. Hempstead."

Mr. Reimer stood by his decision to launch the lawsuit.

"My motive in bringing this action was to demonstrate that police must be very sure before they use an awesome power like arresting someone," he said.

"When they're wrong, they must be taken to task. Even when they're right, they must accord people, even actual criminals, with appropriate respect and use no more force than is necessary."



News Hawk- User 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Daily Observer
Author: STEPHEN UHLER; Tina Peplinskie
Contact: Osprey Media. - Pembroke Daily Observer - Ontario, CA
Copyright: 2007, Osprey Media
Website: Osprey Media. - Pembroke Daily Observer - Ontario, CA
 
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