As reports of my arrest showed up online on Monday night, Marc Emery noted that “It wasn’t about postering. It was a warrant for production & trafficking.”
Well, I was arrested while putting up posters, just not for putting up posters, as some have suggested…
I was out for two hours that night, with my ladder, bucket of wood glue and water, a paint brush, and my bag of posters.
While I was standing on the ladder at Yonge & College, glueing the posters high enough so that they stay up longer (as David Malmo-Levine always advises), a Toronto Police Officer standing beside me demanded my ID and told me to come down.
With my ID in hand, he checked with dispatch on his shoulder radio, attempting to do a CPIC check on me. His partner pulled up moments later and he jumped into the police car to wait for results on the computer, probably playing GTA as we waited – standard tactics – he closed the police car door just as they start to radio him information, so the suspect couldn’t hear them.
After 10 minutes of waiting, the officer got out of the car and grabbed me as if I was going to run and placed me under arrest.
As I was read my rights, I learned I had two outstanding warrants dated August 16, 2008 and August 2, 2008.
The first warrant was for Possession of Cannabis for the Purpose of Trafficking, corresponding to the date of the Matt Mernagh and Eric Compton Apartment Raid.
The second warrant, from 10 days later, was a charge of Production of Cannabis, corresponding to the date Matt Mernagh was released from Hell in the Don Jail. Matt published his account of the event two months afterwards for NOW Magazine (“Drugged daze in the Don”).
After months of remands in court during 2008, Matt Mernagh and Eric Compton went into Old City Hall to receive disclosure.
The two charges each against both Mernagh and Compton were dismissed without the court learning the details of the raid.
As I was named on the lease at the time, legally subletting the unit to the two arrested men, there was a warrant issued on me as well that was never made known to me.
With little information from the arresting officer, I was told only that the Inspector was waiting at 51 Division to speak to me.
Not wanting to take possession of my ladder, bucket of glue, etc, the police officer called my girlfriend Erin Gorman, who rushed to pick everything up. The few minutes she was there, I was stuck in the back of the cruiser, with the door open. Erin was given my possessions, and asked me what I was charged with.
The officers told her, “He’s under arrest, he can’t tell you or talk to you right now”, and tried to close the door. but I was able to stop it with my leg, and told her a few specific instructions.
I also learned I was being charged with two counts of Breaching Probation for each one of those warrants, as I was on probation until November 6th 2008, and these charges were laid in August 2008.
So, I spent a freezing cold, uncomfortable night in 51 Division holding cells, with a concrete bed and toilet.
I didn’t eat the shitty cheese sandwiches, nor did I sleep a minute of the 16 hours in custody. It was a long, mind numbing experience.
At 7:00am, we were grouped for transport. After being first sent with 12 other inmates by Paddy Wagon to the College Park Courts, switching cells twice as they had wrong paper work, finding out I’m in the wrong building all together, and being re-transported by myself to Old City Hall Courts, I was finally in the right place, and finally talked to Duty Counsel.
After asking all the regular questions, Duty Counsel told me thay Alan Young, Osgood Hall Law Professor and Cannabis Lawyer Extraordinaire, sent him and the Crown faxes about the case but had no idea why I was arrested 20 months after the warrant was issued.
I have had my name checked through CPIC many times in the last two years, so that point of law is very unusual in this case.
After many hours in many cells, I was in the “On Deck” cell a few feet from the court room door for two minutes before they called me in.
I walked into the BOX, looking around, but no one I knew was in the court room, they were all instructed to the wrong court house.
Whispering to the Duty Counsel Lawyer is normal while the Crown tries to argue case law. The point form history of the case, my court appointed lawyer tells me quietly: the Crown wants to appose my bail and hold me for a Continued Sentence where I would have to serve the remaining 1/3rd of 6 month sentence they let me out early for.
Where is my girlfriend Erin Gorman, he asked. I told him College Park Courts. He said he’d call her again, but thought I would get bail even though the Crown objects.
While arguing with the Crown, the judge asked me to be sent back to the “On Deck” cell. Again, I’m used to being there for 30 minutes to hours, but I got called back in in only two minutes.
The judge and Crown are still talking as I walk in, and the judge says, “All four charges dismissed”.
The Crown said something like, “You can’t dismiss the charges, this is bail court, dismissals would have to take place upstairs in room 217,” to which, the judge replied, “I have decided. Christopher Goodwin, you are free to go.”
My Duty Counsel shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know what just happened, or how you did this, but hold on,” while the lawyer looked into it.
However, the judge replied to Duty Counsel by repeating “These four charges are dismissed, that was my decision,” and then said to the cop inside the batting cage BOX with me, “Officer, open the pulpit door, Christopher Goodwin is free to go.”
That was a very strange thing to happened to someone like me, as in previous run-ins with the law, I have ALWAYS been put back into the “On Deck” cell, moved back downstairs to the large holding cells for anywhere between 1 and 6 hours while they do paper work to confirm that I am free to go. I’ll tell you, I was a little nervous to just leave. The cop was even nervous to let me out right away.
I guess it’s because they don’t want to release someone by mistake – but within seconds, they let me walk right out into the court room, and I walked right out proudly, without a belt, shoe laces, and smelling bad. I did a turn and bow to the judge like all the real lawyers do, but more to see if the Crown was going to re-consider and tackle me.
I got my evidence bag from the correct window, met up with my beautiful girlfriend Erin Gorman, and took a cab straight to Vapor Central to finish the shift I missed while I was arrested.
“Marc Emery is pleased to hear Chris Goodwin was released from jail…2 hours ago” etc… etc… it says on Facebook.
I then spent an hour reading everything that was posted while I was in custody, while everyone at Vapor Central smoked bong hits with me…
Cause you know, I get high with a little help from my friends…