Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Iqaluit December 18, 2017 - 9:23 am

Alleged Iqaluit drug dealer loses bid to suppress evidence

Cocaine, hash and ecstasy, along with an unlicensed revolver and $9,000 in cash, admissible as evidence at trial

STEVE DUCHARME
RCMP seized nearly a pound of cocaine, along with unspecified amounts of hashish and ecstasy, an unlicensed revolver and $9,000 in cash, believed to be obtained through criminal activity, from the residence of William Allen Pierce, 28, in August of last year. On Friday, Dec. 15, a Nunavut judge ruled all this could be used as evidence during his eventual trial. (FILE PHOTO)
RCMP seized nearly a pound of cocaine, along with unspecified amounts of hashish and ecstasy, an unlicensed revolver and $9,000 in cash, believed to be obtained through criminal activity, from the residence of William Allen Pierce, 28, in August of last year. On Friday, Dec. 15, a Nunavut judge ruled all this could be used as evidence during his eventual trial. (FILE PHOTO)
William Allen Pierce, 28, faces multiple drug possession and trafficking offences. (FILE PHOTO)
William Allen Pierce, 28, faces multiple drug possession and trafficking offences. (FILE PHOTO)

An Iqaluit man accused of dealing drugs suffered a legal setback after a judge ruled that drugs and other items seized by way of a search warrant can be used as evidence in a future trial.

William Allen Pierce, 28, was charged with multiple possession and trafficking offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act after police raided his house on Aug. 5 last year.

Those allegations have yet to be proven in court.

Pierce contended that police did not meet the necessary burden of proof when they sought a search warrant for his residence from a justice of the peace, and that as a result, the search violated his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But Justice Bonnie Tulloch dismissed that argument on Friday, Dec. 15, in a voir dire decision at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit, siding with Crown lawyers.

A “voir dire” is a special hearing held to decide if certain evidence should be admitted in court. Evidence presented at a voir dire may not be published until after the case is resolved in court.

“There was no egregious conduct or bad faith on the part of the police,” Tulloch said, but admitted, “The police could clearly have done more in the way of corroborating.”

“A large quantity of real evidence, including hard drugs, was seized,” she continued. “If that evidence was to be excluded, the charges against Mr. Pierce would not survive.”

Pierce is the oldest of five people—some teenagers—who were arrested and charged by police following the August search of his residence.

According to RCMP news releases issued after the search, officers seized nearly a pound of cocaine, unspecified amounts of hashish and ecstasy, an unlicensed revolver and $9,000 in cash, believed to be obtained through criminal activity.

Police later charged Pierce with three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking in a controlled substance (cocaine and ecstasy,) possession of the proceeds of crime worth over $5,000 and three counts of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine, hashish, ecstasy.)

While the four other poeple arrested with Pierce face charges of possession of a controlled substance, and one count of possessing a restricted weapon, Pierce is the only member of the group to be accused of drug trafficking.

Pierce was released on conditions and a $15,000 bail deposit five days after he was arrested.

He appeared at his latest court appearance in a black suit, with slicked-back hair, and did not address the judge during the roughly hour-long voir dire decision.

Tulloch stressed the seriousness of the charges faced by Pierce in her final comments. “The alleged offence here involves drug dealing in a small community,” she said.

Tulloch justified her analysis with a quotation by Nunavut Chief Justice Neil Sharkey in another case, who said: “The impact of illicit drugs on the mental health of our population are such that the public expects that people who are charged with the offences be prosecuted, and their culpability determined through the truth-seeking function of the trial process.”

Tulloch scheduled lawyers to meet again in court in the New Year, on Jan. 8, to update the court on litigation.

A trial date has not been set.

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