Judge rejects search warrant in Surrey grow op case

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has rejected a Surrey RCMP search warrant in a cannabis grow operation case.

Justice Elliot Myers said he found a justice of the peace didn’t have “sufficient credible and reliable evidence” to prove a Surrey home was stealing electricity before obtaining a warrant to search the house.

Thi Thuy Hoang and Thanh-Phuong Le; charged with possession, possession for the purposes of trafficking and theft of electricity — successfully challenged the validity of the search warrant.

The search warrant was based on an investigation by a B.C. Hydro staff member and an electrician who checked the property in 2012.

The defence pointed out the readings were measured at a junction box that serviced two homes, and this issue wasn’t disclosed to RCMP before the warrant was issued.

Myers said the request for a warrant failed to provide proper disclosure of material facts needed to establish probable grounds to conduct an investigation.

“That would have required disclosure of the fact of the multiple outlets from the box and the method of determining which home the tested feed went to,” Myers said, though this was not why he dismissed the warrant.

Myers said the evidence presented by the Crown was insufficient to prove how the correct house line was identified.

The Crown argued that authorities assumed the correct wire was tested because of the expertise of the B.C. Hydro employees, but Myers disagreed.

“There was not sufficient credible and reliable evidence to permit a justice of the peace to find reasonable and probable grounds that there was a theft of electricity at the target home,” Myers stated.