A Winlaw man is vowing to continue his fight against Ottawa in a bid that could make or break the Bush administration’s plans to extradite B.C. pot seed king Marc Emery to face charges in the U.S. Paddy Roberts says he and Nelson lawyer Don Skogstad will be appealing a B.C. Supreme Court judge’s decision to dismiss a motion that would have barred the federal attorney general from taking control of a conspiracy case Roberts has launched against Emery and two co-accused.
The trio are facing extradition to the States on charges of conspiracy to launder money and distribute marijuana and marijuana seeds. Conviction on the charges would carry a sentence of at least 12 years.
Roberts called Justice Robert Crawford’s ruling nonsense. The decision was made two weeks ago in Nelson. “The United States government got the decision they wanted,” Roberts told the NDN. “There was nothing in statutory law that supported Justice Crawford’s position. The Criminal Code of Canada does not allow the Attorney General of Canada to intervene in these proceedings.”
Roberts and Skogstad are trying to keep the feds out of the case because of their expectation that Ottawa will try and stay the pair’s proceedings against Emery, clearing the way for his extradition. International law states that a person can’t be tried in one country if he or she is facing identical charges in another. The charges Roberts has brought before Emery and co-accused Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams are essentially the same as those the U.S. have pressed.
The chairman of the nationalist Bloc British Columbia party and a well-known watchdog of the RCMP and judicial system, Roberts admits that the ruling would have been appealed by either he or federal prosecutors, depending the Crawford’s decision. His appeal will be filed with the B.C. Court of Appeal. In all likelihood, the final ruling on Roberts’ fight to keep Ottawa out of the Emery case will be settled in the Supreme Court of Canada, a process that will take at least a couple of years, Roberts estimates. “And nobody’s going anywhere until this is settled.”
According to the Globe and Mail, the federal Department of Justice tried to dismiss the charge earlier this year, but Roberts filed a legal motion that argued a Criminal Code offence, such as conspiracy to violate the laws of another country, may only be prosecuted by provincial Crowns. The province has said it has no stand on the case.
In an oral ruling released on the eve of the long weekend the Globe noted, Crawford sided with the arguments put forward by the federal government. The judge found that since the alleged conspiracy is drug-related, the prosecution is within the jurisdiction of the federal Justice Department.
“It seems quite clear that it gives the United States government, through the agency of the federal Minister of Justice, approval to interfere in the administration of justice in B.C.,” Roberts told the Globe. “Normally our courts are not supposed to render judgements based on political considerations,” Roberts added. “It wouldn’t have taken the judge more than half an hour to write a decision granting the prohibition, and that decision would have been unappealable. But that didn’t happen.”
The federal Justice Department in Vancouver has refused comment on the case.
? Story from the Nelson Daily News on Wednesday, June 7th 2006
? Contact: [email protected]
? Discussion about this story and comments from Paddy Roberts are ongoing here in the Cannabis Culture Forums
UPDATE: Appeal Filed by Paddy Roberts
“This is the main body of the Notice of Appeal relating to Justice Crawford’s denial of our motion to prohibit the AG of Canada from interfering in the Nelson charges. BC Attorney General Wally Oppal is being served with this Notice and may now intervene to assert his proper constitutional role.” ?Paddy Roberts
COURT OF APPEAL
THE HONOURABLE IRWIN COTLER
ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR CANADA
Date of Judgement Appealed From: May 19, 2006
Justice: Mr. Justice Crawford, British Columbia Supreme Court
TAKE NOTICE that the appellant appeals against the judgement of the Honourable Mr. Justice Crawford on grounds involving questions of law alone. The grounds for appeal are:
1. That the learned justice erred in law in his conclusion that the Attorney General of Canada is empowered under section 579.1 of the Criminal Code to intervene in the private prosecution initiated by the Appellant on August 8, 2005 and charging Marc Scott Emery, Gregory Keith Williams, and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek with three counts each of conspiracy to violate United States law contrary to section 465 (1) (c) of the Criminal Code.
The relief sought is:
1. An order prohibiting the Attorney General of Canada from interfering in the aforesaid private prosecution in any manner whatsoever in the continuation of the prosecution already launched, or in the event the Appellant chooses to lay a fresh Information, from interfering in any proceedings relative to that fresh Information.
2. The Appellant further seeks an order of this Honourable Court directing the clerk of the Provincial Court of British Columbia at Nelson, British Columbia to remove the stay of proceedings of January 27, 2006 and to reschedule the Information for a process hearing before His Honour Judge Sperry, in the event that the Appellant has not commenced another proceeding with a fresh Information prior to judgement on this matter.