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Second Judge Rules Pot Laws Full Of Smoke

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The420Guy

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For the second time in two months, B.C. judges have ruled the law against
possession of marijuana does not exist.

In a decision last week Provincial Court Judge Marion Buller Bennett stayed
charges of marijuana possession against two people in Port Coquitlam,
saying court rulings in Ontario rendered the law invalid.

Her decision follows a decision on Sept. 6 by Judge Patrick Chen in New
Westminster that also declared the law invalid.

However, John Conroy, an Abbotsford defence lawyer who specializes in
marijuana cases, said he doubts B.C. will see any similar rulings in the
future.

That's because both B.C. rulings are based in large part on a May 16
decision by the Ontario Superior Court that the law against marijuana
possession is invalid. That decision was overturned by the Ontario Court of
Appeal -- effectively reinstating the law against marijuana possession --
on Oct. 7, a day after Buller Bennett's ruling in Port Coquitlam.

"That seems to undercut the basis for these decisions," said Conroy. "The
Ontario Court of Appeal's decision is pretty hard to overcome."

Lyse Cantin, a spokeswoman with the federal justice department, said Crown
prosecutors have already filed an appeal of the Chen decision, but have not
decided whether to appeal Buller Bennett's ruling. After Chen's decision
the justice department stressed that unlike rulings by higher courts,
decisions by provincial court judges are not binding on other cases. "The
Chen decision is a lower court decision, so it's not binding on other
courts," said Cantin.

However, in her ruling, Buller Bennett noted that Chen's ruling heavily
influenced her own.

For the past three years, a number of people have challenged Canada's
marijuana laws in the courts and judges in different provinces have issued
several contradictory rulings.


Pubdate: Fri, 17 Oct 2003
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 The Vancouver Sun
Contact: sunletters@png.canwest.com
Website: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/