Not any more

Charges dropped against former Toronto Humane Society officials

In Canada on August 17, 2010 at 09:15

By Liem Vu and Kevin Gallagher

The decision to withdraw charges against former Toronto Humane Society President Tim Trow and four others was greeted with anger and frustration by the OSPCA on Monday.

Christine McGoey and the Crown Attorney’s office withdrew charges, claiming the warrant executed by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Animals violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“If the Crown feels there are technical breaches in the warrant then this should be determined by a judge,” said Brain Shiller lawyer for the OSPCA.

The organization felt its warrant was legal, having been approved by a Justice of the Peace and examined by two other Supreme Court judges.

“The Crown spent more time preparing their documents for withdrawal than they did examining the evidence,” said Rob Godfrey, chairman of the OSPCA.

“They have sent a message, if you want to be cruel to animals then Ontario is the place to be.”

The OSPCA claims the Crown never examined the evidence beyond reading an inventory of what was collected under the Nov. 2009 witness statements.

Furthermore it says charges of obstruction of justice and cruelty to animals that were dropped did not depend on the arrest warrant. These charges depended on evidence gathered in a separate arrest warrant executed on June 2, 2009.

The OSPCA has no recourse for an appeal and cannot press further legal charges against Mr. Trow or the other four defendants charged in association with the raid on the Toronto Humane Society nine months ago.

Mr. Godfrey appealed to Ontario Attorney General Chris Bently to review today’s withdrawal. The OSPCA also encouraged “those concerned with animal welfare” to write their MPP asking for a similar appeal.

When asked of the OSPCA’s future actions, Rob Godfrey said “we will continue to fulfill our role of the protection of animal rights and welfare in this Province.”

The Ministry of the Attorney General issued the following reasons for the Charter breaches

  • The length and times permitted by the search warrant
  • The inappropriate use of a s.487 warrant to conduct veterinary checks
  • The over breadth of the items to be seized pursuant to the warrant
  • The over breadth of the seizures themselves, including the lack of any restrictions concerning computer images
  • The use of civilians during the searches which was not disclosed in the information to obtain the warrant
  • The failure of appropriately address issues of solicitor-client privilege in the course of obtaining and executing the warrant
  • The presence of media at various times during the execution of the search warrant.


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