March 4, 2014

Kevin Gourlay

R. v. Cook, 2014 ONCA 170, a criminal case out of the Ontario Court of Appeal this week, is interesting for a civil litigator only insofar as its underlying facts.

The applicant was a Peel Regional Police officer who “unwittingly intercepted a RCMP-controlled delivery of imitation cocaine.”  Presumably believing it to be real cocaine, he decided to take the 15 one-kilogram bricks home and stored them inside a Sea-Doo in his garage.  Unfortunately for him, the RCMP had tracking devices inside the bricks and quickly tracked them down, alongside 443 grams of marijuana and some stolen property.

His defence at trial appears to have been that he was a stooge, acting at the behest of two senior officers, a Detective Rykhoff and Constable Williams.  The trial judge found Rykhoff to be an “unimpressive witness in many respects” who was caught in “a number of lies,” seriously misled the Court, and was “highly evasive.”  Williams fared no better.  He “distinguished himself in misleading the court,” and would “change answers on the same subject, apparently when he could not recall his prior response.”  The accused was convicted as the Court found the accused took the bricks believing them to be cocaine.

The recent application relates to an informant that came out of the woodwork post-trial to give further information regarding Rykhoff and Williams. This was forwarded in redacted form to defence counsel but the crown sought to protect the identity of the witness pursuant to informer privilege.  The Court of Appeal did not agree and allowed the appellant’s application.



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