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

‘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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Vancouver Island marmot is an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
VIDEO: ‘Frisky’ Vancouver Island marmots caught on camera

Marmots are catching the eye of researchers when caught on security cameras getting ‘quite frisky’

Karilyn, right, with her older sister, Sabrina. Both siblings are members of the YANA family, after being helped by the community organization on separate occasions. Photo supplied
Siblings both members of the YANA family

Comox Valley non-profit helped Geiger family on separate occasions

A second-floor balcony continues to smoulder after a fire extinguisher was used to get a small balcony fire under control at the Washington Inn Apartments. Brian Hayward, who lives on the third floor, was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke wafting into his apartment. Photo by Brian Hayward.
Courtenay firefighters respond to balcony fire at Washington Inn Apartments

Firefighters were called out to the Washington Inn Apartments Sunday, April 17,… Continue reading

RCMP forensics investigators scour the site north of Highland School in Comox, where multiple people were stabbed during a party Saturday night, April 16. Photo by Terry Farrell
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Comox bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault near Highland Secondary

Cumberland is surrounded by trees — and logging. Its council is supporting a call to stop old-growth logging in vulnerable areas of the province such as Fairy Creek. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland backs request to save B.C.’s old-growth forests

The Comox Youth Climate Council is asking local governments to take stand

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Most Read