Judge set to rule on drug trial involving Ford's former driver

Defence lawyers have asked Justice Ramez Khawly to acquit Alexandro (Sandro) Lisi and co-accused Jamshid (Jay) Bahrami of all charges.

TORONTO – An Ontario judge is set to give his decision today in the drug trial of Rob Ford’s driver.

Defence lawyers have asked Justice Ramez Khawly to acquit Alexandro (Sandro) Lisi and co-accused Jamshid (Jay) Bahrami of all charges.

Both men are charged with trafficking cannabis. Lisi is also charged with possession of a small quantity of marijuana and possession of the proceeds of crime while Bahrami is charged with cocaine possession.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

Lisi, 36, had $900 in marked police money when he was arrested – allegedly from an undercover officer’s purchase of 220 grams of pot in Bahrami’s store.

Bahrami, 49, who has a severe and painful arthritic condition, was licensed to have and grow medicinal marijuana and court heard a tiny amount of cocaine was found in his store.

Court previously heard the arrest of Lisi, Ford’s friend and driver, and Bahrami, a dry cleaner, followed a months-long police investigation that involved surveillance by officers, electronic tracking, aerial spotting and a camera mounted on a street pole.

Police charged Bahrami with brokering only about 680 grams of marijuana in two drug buys worth $3,200.

One of the officers who helped arrest Lisi, Det.-Const. Daryl Bell, testified that his professional standards team began watching Ford’s friend in June 2013 because they believed he had swapped drugs for the return of the mayor’s cellphone earlier that year.

An undercover officer was finally able to orchestrate a drug deal with Bahrami with the marijuana apparently coming from Lisi, who was later arrested with the $900 police “buy” money.

Police also retrieved a doctored pop can containing 6.4 grams of pot in the parking lot when they arrested Lisi and two similar, but empty, ones in his vehicle, although police told court they never saw Lisi with the can and didn’t have it tested for fingerprints.

Bahrami’s lawyer, Jacob Stilman, said his client was under “incessant pressure” to organize a deal with Lisi.

“Mr. Bahrami is not a drug trafficker,” Stilman said. “He is a dope-smoking dry cleaner and he’s smoking it for medicinal purposes.”

In her closing submissions, Crown prosecutor Kerry Benzakein said that Bahrami was more than just an “agent” for Det. Ross Fernandes in those deals.

“He assisted in the transactional enterprise,” Benzakein told Ontario court judge Ramez Khawly. “He handled the drugs. He handled the money.”

Lisi’s lawyer, Dominic Basile, has argued the prosecution has not proven their case beyond reasonable doubt.

Lisi also faces separate charges of extortion related to trying to retrieve the infamous Ford “crack video.” He has yet to stand trial in that case.

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