A Victoria man convicted on a slew of federal drug charges lost a Supreme Court challenge to have video surveillance evidence discarded from his trial.
In January 2018 the Victoria Police Department received word there was someone selling drugs out of a third-floor unit in a mental health and addictions partial residential building managed by the Victoria Cool Aid Society in the 700 block of Pandora Avenue. The building – monitored 24/7 by Cool Aid staff – had video surveillance inside and out, as well as a motion-triggered recorder.
VicPD officer Const. O’Connor went to investigate on Jan.25, 2018.
O’Connor watched real-time and recorded footage and saw about nine people enter the suspected unit – waiting at the door to be let in, then entering and leaving shortly after. The Emergency Response Team was called in and went to the unit with a search warrant.
In the Supreme Court submission, heard in a Victoria court in February, Bourdeau’s lawyer claimed O’Connor’s warrantless observation of the Cool Aid Society’s video surveillance breached his client’s section 8 right of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
But Supreme Court Justice J. Steeves disagreed.
“I find that the defendant here did not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in the hallway of the third floor at 749 Pandora Avenue,” he wrote in his decision.
Steeves also ruled that any privacy rights Bourdeau had inside the suite did not extend into the hallway.
Police were viewing the footage based on confidential information connecting Bourdeau to the unit, he wrote. “It was not a random fishing expedition and there was no intrusion into Suite 301 itself.”
On March 7, Bourdeau was found guilty on four counts of possession of different controlled substances for the purpose of trafficking. His sentencing is scheduled for BC Supreme Court in October.