VANCOUVER, B.C. — A B.C. provincial court ruling has called into question the vehicle inspection rights of Canadian border guards.
Charges against Ajitpal Singh Sekhon were dismissed after a provincial court judge ruled his rights were violated when inspection officers drilled holes into his pick-up truck to look for drugs. Customs officers said they were initially suspicious because drug-sniffing dogs indicated the vehicle may have contained drugs. Their suspicions were confirmed and 50 kg of cocaine was found in Sekhons truck.
However, Judge Ellen Gordon ruled that Customs inspectors were not entitled to drill into Sekhons truck.
“Drilling a hole into a pickup truck would decrease its value significantly,” Gordon wrote in her ruling. “The damage done to the vehicle … is directly proportional to the analysis of the reasonableness of the manner in which the search was carried out.”
Canada Border Services Agency spokesman Chris Williams, said the agency is appealing the decision and will continue to carry out vehicle inspections in the meantime.
“We’re going to continue our vigilance with our enforcement efforts based on the processes and the procedures that we have in place,” he told the Canadian Press.
Sekhons lawyer referred to CBSAs inspections as nothing short of vigilantism.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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