Verdict reserved in drug, firearm case

The trial wrapped up on Wednesday for a 22-year-old man accused of dealing drugs and possessing a loaded handgun but he will have to wait a few more weeks for a verdict.

The trial wrapped up on Wednesday for a 22-year-old man accused of dealing drugs and possessing a loaded handgun but he will have to wait a few more weeks for a verdict.

Samir Mohamed was arrested on Feb. 11, 2009, after police pulled him over for making an illegal U-turn in Sylvan Lake. After he was asked to get out of the car, the police officer allegedly found marijuana and crack cocaine on him. A search of the vehicle turned up 325 grams of crack worth up to $35,000 and a .22-calibre loaded handgun.

Mohamed was facing nine charges in Court of Queen’s Bench, including counts of trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of the proceeds of crime, possession of a concealed weapon and various other weapons charges.

Justice Monica Bast reserved her ruling until sometime in the new year. A date has not yet been set.

Defence lawyer Shawn Beaver argued on Tuesday that Mohamed’s constitutional rights were violated during the traffic stop because he was not alerted soon enough that he had the right to call a lawyer.

Beaver asked that evidence gathered during the stop should not allowed to be entered into the trial, which was presided over by a judge alone.

Bast ruled on Wednesday that the evidence will not be excluded.

While Mohamed should have been told he had the right to a lawyer throughout the seven- to eight-minute roadside interaction with the police officer, there was no evidence the officer deliberately failed to inform him of that right during the “fairly fast chain of events,” said the judge.

There was also no deliberate delay or evidence of bad faith on the part of the officer, who had made it clear to Mohamed what he was being charged for as evidence was gathered.

The judge said she must also weigh the importance and reliability of the evidence and what impact it would have on the trial if excluded.

In closing arguments, Beaver argued that there is reasonable doubt that Mohamed knew about the handgun and drugs in a tote bag on the front passenger seat of the vehicle that belonged to someone else. Although fingerprints belonging to Mohamed were found on plastic bags containing drugs, there is no proof that the prints weren’t left when the bags were empty.

Federal Crown prosecutor Dave Inglis said besides the fingerprint evidence, a plastic bag found on the accused is nearly identical with the same blue markings as drug bags found in the tote bag on the front seat.

He was also the only one in the car and acted nervously, sweating profusely, when pulled over.

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