Legal News

Evidence of Marijuana Grow-Op Obtained in Breach of Charter Admissible in Arbitration
September 5, 2007

A labour arbitrator has admitted evidence that an employee ran a marijuana grow-op, despite a Provincial Court judge having excluded the evidence in criminal proceedings.

The grievor was dismissed from his position as a health care worker for young offenders with mental health problems after it was disclosed that he faced charges relating to a marijuana grow-op found at his residence. He was also charged with uttering threats against certain individuals.

In the arbitration proceedings, the union applied to exclude the evidence relating to the marijuana charges, on the basis that the Provincial Court had held, first, that the search of the grievor’s residence breached the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, second, that admission of the evidence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

Arbitrator Hall concluded that an arbitration board has jurisdiction to apply the Charter for the purposes of determining the admissibility of evidence. If a court has already held that evidence was obtained in breach of the Charter, the arbitrator must then apply section 24(2) of the Charter and exclude the evidence if its admission would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

The arbitrator noted that the grievor’s continued employment was at stake, but unlike criminal proceedings, his liberty was not threatened by the arbitration. He therefore held that the admission of the evidence would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute or result in an unfair hearing, and ruled the evidence could be introduced as part of the arbitration proceedings.

B.C. Public Service Agency (Ministry of Children and Family Development) and British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union (Koprowski) (2007)160 L.A.C. (4th) 193 (Hall)