Lake Country man acquitted of firearms charges after RCMP traffic stop deemed illegal

Judge deemed traffic stop violated man’s Charter rights

A Lake Country man was acquitted of several firearms charges after a judge found the traffic stop during which police found him allegedly in possession of a gun was deemed illegal.

According to court documents, Brodie Curtis Young was arrested in the early morning hours of Nov. 4, 2018, after allegedly being found with an illegal firearm, while riding as a passenger in a car, that was pulled over along Highway 97 by Lake Country Const. Rick Marshinew.

The driver of the vehicle was Anthony Roberts, a prolific offender in the Lake Country area with whom police were very familiar.

Despite Marshinew having seen nothing to indicate Roberts was impaired during the stop, he directed Roberts to exit the vehicle — although he agreed he had no grounds to do so.

As Roberts was exiting the vehicle, Marshinew spotted Young stuff something into his coat. Marshinew immediately suspected the item was a firearm.

Marshinew turned Roberts over to an officer who had attended the scene as backup, ran around to the front of the car and, in a loud demanding voice, ordered the Young, still in the vehicle, to show him his hands.

Young complied but quickly put his hands back down. This prompted Marshinew to forcibly eject Young from the vehicle, at which point a magazine of ammunition fell out of his coat. Young then pointed out a black bag containing a firearm.

“It’s only a .22. I found it,” Young told the officer.

Young was subsequently arrested and charged.

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Marshinew maintained that he pulled the vehicle over as a routine traffic stop.

However, Justice Gary Weatherill had doubts about Marshinew’s submitted evidence, citing Roberts’ notoriety among Lake Country RCMP officers.

“I have concluded that he decided to stop the Hyundai either knowing or highly suspecting it was Mr. Roberts he was stopping,” Weatherill said while giving his judgement on July 27 in a Kelowna courtroom.

Weatherill also noted the peculiarity of Marshinew’s call for backup, which is uncommon during a routine traffic stop.

Ultimately, Weatherill deemed the stop was illegal and a breach of Young’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He said Roberts was simply driving late at night with the Young as his passenger and Const. Marshinew suspected they were up to no good.

“The public should be allowed to go about their business without being randomly and arbitrarily detained under the guise of a traffic stop to check for sobriety, insurance, and licencing. In my view, what occurred was egregious and deliberate and, if allowed, could lead to serious erosion of public confidence in the justice system. There is a need for the court to disassociate itself from such behaviour.

“It is my view that allowing the Crown to use the evidence obtained as a result [of the traffic stop] would have the effect of bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.”

Weatherill allowed the defence’s application barring the Crown’s use of items seized during the traffic stop as evidence.

“On balance, the importance of maintaining the protections afforded the accused by the Charter outweighs the societal interest in the matter being adjudicated on the merits.”

As there was no other evidence involved in the case, Young was acquitted on all charges.

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