Friday, April 14, 2006
Memo to RCMP: How To Bust Grow-Ops Legally
Once again it would seem that criminals have more rights than they deserve. An Alberta judge has dismissed grow-op charges because the RCMP "... violated the constitutional rights of the accused..." when a device to measure electrical use was secretly attached to the power line. (This is a widely used method to identify grow-ops and consequently, the judge's well-intentioned decision casts doubt on the legality of similar police operations across Canada.)
How's this for a simple solution? One that won't take 5 years and require an appeal to the Supreme Court? (Or perhaps the learned judge would have the police phone ahead to make an appointment with the owners of the suspected grow op?)
1. When police suspect a building is being used for a grow op, 'somebody' makes a call to the electrical utility.
2. It is illegal to steal energy from the utilities. Therefore, the utility has every right to investigate in order to protect its own interest.
3. If the utility can confirm the theft of electricity (easy to do), then the utility files a complaint with the police to that effect.
4. THEN the police have reasonable grounds to get a search warrrant because there is no reasonable explanation (other than a grow-op) for significant undocumented energy consumption.
5. Then the judge will be happy and be willing to do his job. Problem solved.
While I share the judge's concern for constitutional law, it seems a shame that he has felt compelled to put yet another obstacle in the path of common-sense law enforcement, particularly when it relates to organized crime all too often located in residential neighbourhoods.