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Drug Production

The Charge

It is an offence to produce any of the substances listed in the Schedules of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Likewise, it is an offence to produce cannabis not as authorized by the Cannabis Act.

To “produce” means to obtain a substance by any process or method, and includes:

  • Synthesizing, manufacturing or using any method in order to alter the physical or chemical qualities of a substance;
  • Harvesting, cultivating or growing the substance or any living organism that the substance can be derived or extracted from.

Because of the large quantities of the controlled substances and the actual or potential large financial gain that is associated with distribution of the substance, potential sentences are serious upon conviction. Courts generally sentence those convicted of drug production to incarceration, sometimes involving lengthy penitentiary time. Maximum sentences for hard drug production offences are for up to imprisonment for life.

The Investigation

Typically, police begin targeting a suspected drug producer or place based on information provided through a tip from a third party. For example, a neighbour who observes suspicious activity – people coming and going, smells, noises or evidence of property being fortified. In order to search the property, police have to present information to a judge or justice that outlines the reasonable and probable grounds that the officer believes support the granting of a warrant to search. Often, police will seek to add evidence to the tip and will conduct further independent investigations on the suspected drug production operation. This might include the police conducting surveillance of suspected producers or seeking and obtaining wiretap warrants to intercept private communications of suspects.

Recent Successes

R. vs. E.C. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Sexual Assault; Assault.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we guided our client through, the nature of the sex assault itself and our client's true remorse, whether a jail sentence or house arrest were required.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to make a joint submission for a conditional discharge. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions on our client's behalf, the trial judge granted our client the discharge. No jail or house arrest. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. N. O. – Courtenay Provincial Court

Charges: Assault Causing Bodily Harm x2; Assault x3.
Issues: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to provide information to Crown counsel which cast the complainant's credibility and reliability into doubt. The Crown made an adjournment application which Mr. Gauthier opposed. Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown to stay all of the criminal charges upon our client entering into a Peace Bond. No jail; No criminal record.

R. v. K.T. – Insurance Fraud Investigation

Charges: Fraud Under $5000.
Issue: Given our client's repayment of the alleged fraudulent health insurance benefit claims, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with criminal charges.
Result: Mr. Mines was able settle the matter on our client's behalf and received a Release from the insurer ending the matter without any further civil or criminal proceeding. No charges were approved.

R. vs. A.H. – Vancouver Supreme Court

Charges: Sentence Appeal - Forcible entry; Assault with a weapon.
Issue: Whether the Supreme Court would uphold our client's conditional discharge that was granted to our client by the Provincial Court.
Result: After hearing Mr. Gauthier's submissions on this sentence appeal, the Supreme Court justice agreed with Mr. Gautier and ruled that the sentence was appropriate in all the circumstances. The court dismissed the Crown's appeal. The conditional discharge was upheld.

R. v. J.F. – Dawson Creek Provincial Court

Charge: Sexual Assault.
Issue: The credibility of the complainant's testimony during this three day trial.
Result: After vigorous cross examination of the complainant and another Crown eyewitness, Mr. Gauthier made submissions which were accepted by the trial judge. The court found our client to be not guilty and aquitted him of the charge. No jail. No criminal record.

R. vs. D.C. – Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charges: Sexual Assault (x2).
Issue: In the circumstances of these historic charges and our client's rehabilitation, whether a community based sentence was appropriate.
Result: Notwithstanding that Crown counsel sought a 20 month jail sentence, the trial judge agreed with Mr. Mines' submission that, in the circumstances of our client's genuine remorse and rehabilitation, it was appropriate to  grant a conditional sentence of 21 months. No jail.

R. vs. G.S. – North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to guide our client through, whether it was in the public interest to continue with the prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings, brining the matter to an end. No criminal record.

B.G. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Theft/Fraud Over $5000 (from employer).
Issue: Given the self rehabilitation and civil settlement made by our client, whether a non-custodial sentence was appropriate in this $60,000 theft from employer case.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade the Court that the appropriate sentence was an 18 month community-based sentence with 6 months of house arrest. No jail.

R. vs. J.C. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to guide our client through, whether it was in the public interest for Crown counsel to continue the prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide new information to Crown and was ultimately able to persuade Crown to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.L. – Insurance Fraud Investigation

Charge: Fraud Over $5000.
Issue: Given our client's settlement of the fraud claim by paying funds back on a "without prejudice" basis, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade the investigator to not forward any report for charge assessment. No charges were approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. K.A. – Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Whether the complainant and the Crown witnesses gave reliable and crdible evidence at trial.
Result: After vigorous cross examination, the trail judge accepted Mr. Gauthier's submissions that Crown counsel had failed to prove its case. Not guilty verdict. No criminal record.

R. vs. X.L. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Whether the information police provided to Crown counsel would cause Crown to conclude there was a substantial likelihood of obtaining a conviction.
Result: Mr. Mines provided information to Crown on our client's behalf. He was able to persuade Crown that our client was in fact the victim of an assault and was acting in self defence. No charges were approved. No criminal record.

The Defence

Unreasonable Search

As experienced drug lawyers, we will analyze the facts of your case and the actions of police to determine whether the search and seizure was, in fact, conducted lawfully, as authorized by the Charter. Where police have violated our client’s rights by conducting a search without having reasonable and probable grounds, we will apply to the court to have the drug evidence excluded from the trial under s. 24(2) of the Charter. The general idea is that when police obtain evidence from an unlawful search that has violated our client’s Charter rights, the court ought to see that evidence as “tainted” and that its admission into the trial record will “bring the administration of justice into disrepute.” Without the admission of the drug evidence, the court will find that there is insufficient evidence to convict.

Lack of Possession

In order to prove that a person produced illicit drugs, the Crown must prove that the accused possessed the drugs. This may be problematic in situations where the accused is not found in the production facility. A very viable defence to a drug production charge is to show that our client did not consent to, have knowledge of, or have control over the drug. This may involve adducing evidence that our client did not know that the drug was, in fact, a controlled substance. It may involve showing that our client had no control over the place in which the drugs were found. As experienced defence lawyers, we understand the Crown’s burden in proving that an accused had the requisite knowledge and control of the substance to be convicted. We are dedicated to holding the Crown to the high standard that the law requires when prosecuting drug offences. We are committed to defending our client’s rights as guaranteed by the Charter.

Start with a free consultation.

If you are being investigated by police or if you’ve been charged with a criminal or driving offence, don’t face the problem alone. Being accused of an offence is stressful. The prospects of a criminal record or jail sentence can be daunting. Even if you think there is no defence, we may be able to help. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Vancouver lawyers, contact us now.