Following on the heels of numerous similar cases, a well-known Kelowna gang associate has had charges of possession of an illegal handgun dropped.
Matthew Henry Schrader, described as "a close associate of convicted drug smuggler Rob Shannon" in the Vancouver Sun, was taken into custody while a search warrant was executed on his home prior to Christmas.
A .45 calibre pistol, drugs and over $7,000 in cash were seized during the search.
Now, three months later all charges against Shrader were dropped.
Crown Prosecutor Ernie Froess refused to say why, being quoted as saying only:
"For a prosecution to continue there has to be a reasonable prospect of conviction and, based on that standard, my office concluded that it was no longer appropriate to prosecute Mr. Schrader."
Shrader's lawyer Matthew Nathanson, on the other hand, seemed almost saddened by the news. He was looking forward to putting evidence before the court of police impropriety.
I can tell you that we had concerns about the viability of this prosecution from the outset and my client certainly looked forward to challenging the lawfulness of the police actions," Nathanson said."From our perspective there were certainly live legal issues as to the lawfulness of the police actions in this case."
Apparently there was an issue with the information used by police to get the search warrant.
So, while he forfeited the firearm, drugs and body armour to the crown, they readily handed him back the $7,000 they took during the raid.
I'm actually surprised by that.
I shouldn't be though... about the only time civil forfeiture laws seem to be applied is when it's a regular, law-abiding citizen who's property they want to steal.
Taking proceeds of crime from known drug dealers is apparently "off-limits".