Voir dire examines police conduct in drug case

Thousands of dollars in cash seized during a 2011 drug bust had been saved up over the previous year for a car and a wedding gift, a suspect told a police officer in a taped statement.

Thousands of dollars in cash seized during a 2011 drug bust had been saved up over the previous year for a car and a wedding gift, a suspect told a police officer in a taped statement.

Ahmed Nur, 31, has been on trial since Monday before Calgary-based Justice Carolyn Anderson in the Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench. Nur and another man were originally charged with 40 offences laid following raids on two Red Deer homes and an Edmonton storage locker on July 12, 2011. Most of the charges have since been withdrawn, leaving one count each of trafficking crack cocaine, possessing crack cocaine for trafficking and possessing proceeds of crime at a value exceeding $5,000.

The trial is in a voir dire, or trial within a trial, to determine if police violated Nur’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Court heard on Thursday that police seized just under $62,000 in cash found in Nur’s possession and in various suitcases located in the pickup truck in which he had been travelling.

On Friday, Edmonton-based Crown prosecutor Patricia Giroux played back the audio recording of a statement Nur gave to RCMP Const. Mike Turco on July 13, 2011.

Turco had laid additional charges against Nur, alleging that he had instructed “kids” to commit offences on behalf of a criminal organization.

Turco is heard on tape explaining that the charges were laid under Section 467 of the Canadian Criminal Code, which deals with organized crime and includes prison sentences of up to 25 years.

“You guys are in the position of a don. Three little kids are selling dope for you,” says Turco.

During the 40-minute session, Nur denied gang connections and denied that he had ever attended the Jamieson Avenue home Turco described to him as a known drug house that police had been watching and from which the “kids” had been dealing dope.

Nur said he and his companions — two adults and a child — were heading to Edmonton so he could catch a plane to Toronto for his sister’s wedding. They stopped near a storage lot because the child needed to pee.

He could not say why his travelling companion had a key to one of the lockers nor could he explain the eight firearms found inside.

Defence counsel Paul Moreau, also based in Edmonton, limited his cross-examination to questions about whether the statement was recorded on video. Turco responded that it is the RCMP’s normal practice to have someone video and monitor the interviews, but that he was not aware if a camera or monitor were in place when he took Nur’s statement.

Arrested and charged with Nur was Raed Abdulla, 32. Giroux stayed charges against Abdulla at the start of the trial, meaning his case remains in limbo for up to a year. The charges are considered dismissed if the Crown takes no further action during that time.

Nur’s trial resumes on Tuesday. He is out on $15,000 bail.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

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