‘Bed pan vigil’ for B.C. man ruled unlawful

Rights of suspect were violated, judgment says

When two Langley RCMP officers suspected a man was a trafficker who was concealing drugs in his rectum, they ordered a “bed pan vigil,” where a suspect is placed in a “dry cell” with no running water while the police wait for nature to take its course.

As it turned out, the man was concealing a bag of drugs, and after testing the contents of the bag, he was charged with possessing heroin and cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

But when the case came to court this summer, Surrey Provincial Court Judge Robert Hamilton ruled the initial arrest and the bed pan vigil search that followed were unlawful.

The written reasons for the April judgment, recently posted online, relate how a Langley RCMP constable became suspicious after pulling a driver over for a sobriety check near a Langley tavern in August 2015.

The constable testified that as he approached the vehicle, he noticed that the driver’s seat was reclined and observed that the man’s “hands were behind his back and down the back of his pants.”

The officer said he decided to arrest the driver for possession of marijuana because he was able to detect “a strong odour of vegetative marijuana” and called in a second officer.

They handcuffed the driver, put him in the police cruiser and searched the car, finding what they said appeared to be a marijuana grinder with flakes.

The charge was changed to possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

On the way back to the Langley RCMP detachment, the officers took the suspect to Langley Memorial Hospital, because, they said, he seemed to be ill.

One constable told the ER doctor that he believed that the driver “had secreted drugs in his body cavity and asked the doctor to retrieve those drugs.”

But with no warrant and no consent from the driver, the doctor refused.

Back at the detachment, the officer was granted an application by a judicial justice over the phone to hold the driver for three days in a dry cell.

There was another trip to the LMH ER, where once again, the driver refused to consent to any medical treatment and the ER doctor said there was no need to admit the man to hospital.

During the second hospital visit, the officers said they were trying to persuade the driver that “keeping the drugs inside of him was risking his health.”

After a couple of hours, the suspect asked a female officer to leave the room and “took down his trousers and retrieved the drugs.”

The drugs were then sent for analysis and determined to be heroin and cocaine.

Given the volume of the drugs, the man was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.

At a hearing on whether the seized drugs were admissible as evidence, the judge ruled that the officer “had the necessary subjective grounds” to make the initial arrest for possession of marijuana, but not enough to justify charging the driver with the more serious offence of trafficking.

The judge noted the flakes found during the cars search weren’t sent for testing to determine if they were marijuana, so there was no evidence “that the device identified as a marijuana grinder contained marijuana.”

As for the bed pan vigil, the judge said just seeing the driver put his hands behind his back did not “raise a credibly based probability” that the man had secreted drugs inside a body cavity.

READ MORE: Drug overdoses almost a daily occurrence in Langley City

READ MORE: B.C. says 50-50 pot tax split with feds not good enough



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Excel Martial Arts raises more than $5,000 for family of Chilliwack man killed in workplace accident

By-donation fundraiser event helps wife, three children of 28-year-old Nathan Appleton of Chilliwack

Chilliwack Lions Club has a new place to call home

After more than five years without a headquarters, Chilliwack Lions Club moves into new hall

Sardis Falcons top Heritage Woods in field lacrosse opener

The Falcons rallied from a halftime hole to take a big win on the road in Port Moody.

Chilliwack prolific offender charged in four alleged incidents in 12 days

Branden Tanner busted for alleged smash-and-grab Nov. 30, then incidents Dec. 3, Dec. 8 and Dec. 11

Four companies vying to open cannabis stores in locations across Chilliwack

Rezoning applications for non-medical cannabis outlets pending, and some will require variances

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Most Read