On February 20, 2020, Justice Timothy Lipson acquitted Jermaine Barrows-Taylor of all firearm-related charges, but accepted his guilty plea for drug trafficking.
At the time of his arrest for a violation of the Highway Traffic Act on August 26, 2018, Jermaine Barrows-Taylor was under a Firearms Prohibition Order and his driver’s licence was revoked.
When Toronto Police Service Constables Daniel and Gill searched the vehicle driven by Barrows-Taylor (his mother’s) “incident to arrest” they discovered:
- A collection of ziplock baggies containing cocaine
- $300 in cash
- A black bag containing a loaded Kel Tec P-11semi-automatic handgun (Prohibited handgun) with the serial number removed and 13 additional rounds of 9mm ammuntion
Constables Daniel and Gill charged Jermaine Barrows-Taylor with a host of drug and gun offences, including possession of a firearm and ammunition contrary to a prohibition order.
Jermaine Barrows-Taylor pleaded guilty before Justice Timothy Lipson to a charge of Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, but not guilty to several firearms-related offences.
While it was likely, even highly probable, the illegal gun belonged to Jermaine Barrows-Taylor, the arresting officers made one critical mistake.
They failed to investigate the possibility the illegal handgun belonged to anyone except Barrows-Taylor.
The two other occupants of the vehicle were detained and charged for possession of cocaine, but were released after Barrows-Taylor said the drugs were his because P.C. Gill felt there was no reason “to continue the arrests”.
From R. v. Barrows-Taylor, 2020 ONCJ 98:
 Of course, it is likely, even highly likely, that the black bag and its contents belonged to Mr. Barrows-Taylor. He was the driver. The bag with the gun and ammunition was under his seat. He admitted he was in possession of the drugs and that the possession was for the purpose of trafficking. It is an accepted fact of life that drug traffickers often possess guns to protect themselves and their drug supply. Moreover, the accused’s belt was unbuckled and his pants partially down. One could infer that he had just removed and hidden something- maybe the drugs, maybe the gun, maybe both- near or under the back of the driver’s seat.
 However, the police investigation was incomplete in a crucial way. Other potential suspects who were in a position to place the gun under the driver’s seat were not eliminated. As a result, the Crown was unable to negative other reasonable possibilities consistent with the innocence of the accused. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt requires that the Crown be able to do so. That was not done in this case. A reasonable doubt can result from the absence of evidence which is the case here.
 Mr. Barrows-Taylor will have the benefit of that reasonable doubt. In the result, he will be found not guilty of the firearms-related offences, but guilty of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
What do you think?
Is Justice Timothy Lipson’s ruling correct? Did Constable Daniel and Constable Gill screw up?
Or did another career drug dealer get a total pass for possessing an illegal handgun?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Lawrence Whyte says
Yes , I believe another drug dealer got a free pass on a Firearms Prohibition Order. A prohibition Order usually states that he is not to have a firearm on or near his person. A prohibition order is not a order to allow possession of a Prohibited Weapon! (serial # Missing) No Accountability*********
Colin Murphy says
Yes, from a legal perspective the courts ruling is spot on but this is just sloppy police work. One wonders why the police did not have the firearm checked for prints or DNA to tie it to this drug dealer. If not his, perhaps any lifted markings would have identified the owner, possibly one of the car’s other occupants who were most likely known to police.
So, here we have a loaded prohibited firearm assigned to no one but the authorities will steal my legally owned firearms to enhance public safety!!
Arne Poulsen says
The Police should have tried to get an admission as to who’s gun it was and in the absence of that have arrested them all. But who knows, he might have been able to bargain away the gun charge for the drug guilty plea. It is too bad. We don’t need guys like that loose in our midst.
Any adult person who is freely moving about in society should have full rights and freedoms, including having a gun. If this guy was too dangerous to own a gun, having been issued a (worthless) firearm prohibition order, he was too dangerous to be set loose on society. The parole board and the judge who issued the prohibition order are at fault here.
And if Lipson gives him a slap on the wrist for the coke trafficking, he is part of the problem too.
There is absolutely nothing wrong about any citizen carrying a gun, because self defense is a right.
There is nothing wrong about a citizen carrying or selling drugs for that matter.
We know what’s right and wrong… what’s legal and illegal depends on which gang is in power.
For example, I knew someone sentenced to jail for running booze, back when dope was legal.
Yes more Bureaucracy run a muck, when will this Trudeau mania constitutional rights
B.S. ever stop?
Drug dealers set free,Gun violators with violent history given a FREE pass,career criminals set loose while awaiting trial for time served, What a mockery of justice in this what once was the Great White North
Shame on the the politicians,the law maker’s, and the judges, How dare you blame the police for trying to uphold the law and keep our communities safe.
If creating tyranny in our land is their goal they are well on their way to successfully achieving just that.
What happened to, Possession is 9/10 of the law. It was in the vehicle he was operating ergo he was in possession.
What happened to, Due diligence. these officers are supposed to be properly trained and conversant with the procedures of arrest and the laws of the city/province/country. Which begs the question. Where did they get their badges(out of popcorn)? Send them back to school or fire them and get a refund.
THE POLICE WERE RIGHT TO LET THE FIREARMS CHARGES DROP.THERE ARE CERTAIN PARAMETERS THAT MUST BE FOLLOWED.WITHOUT THOSE WE WOULD ALL BE AT THE MERCY OF DANGEROUS POLICE.EVEN WITH PARAMETERS IN PLACE THE POLICE DON’T ALWAYS FOLLOW THOSE RULES.WE DON’T WANT TO LIVE BY JUNGLE LAWS!