Picture: Castanet Workers
A police standoff at 623 Tomby Courtroom in Feb. 2022. The provincial authorities has been attempting to grab the house alleging it was purchased with the proceeds of crime.
The provincial authorities’s try and seize a Kelowna dwelling it alleges, with out offering any proof, was bought with the proceeds of crime, has hit a roadblock.
In July 2021 the Director of Civil Forfeiture opened proceedings towards common-law spouses Gregory Ballentine and Christine McArthur in an try and seize the house at 623 Tomby Courtroom and just below $1,800. Two tenants of the property, Jordy Moyan and Desiree Kovacs, have been additionally named within the motion.
The lawsuit was filed roughly a month after police raided the house and seized medication and weapons. It was considered one of a number of police responses, and a number of raids, on the property between 2020 and 2022.
The Director of Civil Forfeiture as part of its efforts to grab the house utilized to the BC Supreme Courtroom for an interim preservation order to stop Ballentine from promoting the house or degrading its worth previous to trial. He would even be required to get renovations and repairs accredited and permit periodic inspections.
Preservation orders are considerably routine in civil forfeiture circumstances and the director should meet a “low threshold” to acquire one.
This week a BC Supreme Courtroom justice dominated the director didn’t meet that threshold, primarily as a result of not a “shred” of proof to again the declare that the house was bought with proceeds of crime was submitted.
“That the director may impinge so critically on the rights of the defendants with out offering a shred of proof to assist the competition that the [property] could also be proceeds of illegal exercise or an instrument of illegal exercise, is in my opinion, a critical affront to the pursuits of justice,” dominated Justice Palbinder Shergill.
The director tried to argue that “a mere assertion of reality” within the civil lawsuit is sufficient to warrant granting an interim preservation order, one thing Justice Shergill discovered didn’t line up with case legislation.
Shergill famous in his ruling that Ballentine bought the house at 623 Tomby Courtroom with out a mortgage in 2014.
“The alleged legal exercise occurred in 2020 and 2021. Even when I used to be to simply accept all the details that the defendants say are exterior of their data as being true, these details are inadequate to point out a temporal connection between the acquisition of the [property] and the alleged legal exercise.”
In his response in August 2021 to the preliminary civil forfeiture motion, Ballentine mentioned his spouse, Christine McArthur, “has rented out rooms to varied individuals who appeared to be down on their luck.”
“She is a Good Samaritan who likes to assist individuals,” the response continued, explaining that Ballentine and McArthur have fought about individuals staying at their dwelling.
Tenants Moyan and Kovacs, who each have drug trafficking convictions, stayed on the property for lower than a month and moved out after one of many police raids, mentioned Ballentine’s submitting.
“Mr. Ballentine and his spouse don’t have any intention of permitting any unlawful actions of their dwelling and have taken steps to do away with all tenants.”
Ballentine says he purchased the house with lawful revenue. He was beforehand a professor at Okanagan Faculty, and cash was lent to him by dad and mom.
The choose did conform to grant a preservation order for just below $1,800 that police seized whereas looking out the house and Moyan’s automobile. Ballentine and his spouse declared no real interest in the money and the tenants didn’t file court docket responses.
It stays to be seen if the director will proceed with its efforts to grab the house at trial having not obtained an interim preservation order.
Not talked about within the authorized filings is a police standoff that occurred on the dwelling in February 2022, involving tactical officers, that ended within the arrest of 1 man.
The Civil Forfeiture Act turned legislation in B.C. in 2005, and permits the federal government to grab property that’s alleged to be related to legal offences. The federal government can proceed with forfeitures whether or not or not legal prices have been laid towards a person. Whereas forfeiture issues are heard in civil court docket, the place the usual of proof is on a “steadiness of possibilities,” legal issues are selected the upper bar of “past affordable doubt.”