Not so much a whodunit as a WTF - Macleans.ca

Not so much a whodunit as a WTF

Colby Cosh on why the Crown didn’t want to press ahead with drug charges against Jaffer

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Anyone else think the Star‘s buried revelation about Rahim Jaffer’s criminal case only makes things more confusing?

A rookie Ontario Provincial Police officer failed to follow proper procedures during a strip search of Jaffer, 38, causing the Crown to conclude the case would be open to a Charter challenge, the Star has learned. While the OPP opposed Jaffer only being charged with careless driving, the Crown took a steadfast position, sources say.

If they found cocaine in Jaffer’s possession before conducting the strip search, failing to follow proper procedure wouldn’t impeach that evidence (and it is hard to see how it could impinge upon the impaired-driving charge at all). Under Charter guarantees, the lawyers tell me, you can use fruit gathered from the “evidentiary tree” up until the point at which it becomes “poisoned”. But if the cops strip-searched him before they knew he might be carrying cocaine, why the hell did they do it (and do it carelessly)? Cops are only supposed to conduct strip-searches to protect their own safety or to prevent the destruction of evidence related to the reason for the original arrest.

I’m struggling to arrive at an alternative explanation other than “Some ‘rookie’ cop overstepped his authority and used a strip-search as an instrument of intimidation”, but I’m open to suggestions.