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Calgary Pot Crusader Wins Top Court Ruling
10-29-2006, 06:02 PM,
Calgary Pot Crusader Wins Top Court Ruling

Grant Krieger Granted New Trial for 2003 Conviction

Medical marijuana activist Grant Krieger is jubilant that Canada's high court unanimously struck down his three-year-old trafficking conviction.

"It's excellent. I'm not surprised. Now the court here has to get me another trial," said Krieger, who smokes pot to ease his multiple sclerosis symptoms and has distributed it to others suffering painful medical conditions.

"I'm still walking. I'm still fighting. I'm still scrapping," said Krieger, who has maintained he never profited from growing pot.

The Supreme Court, in a 7-0 judgment Thursday, overturned Krieger's 2003 conviction, entitling him to a new trial if the Crown chooses to proceed again.

The court ruled the Alberta judge violated Krieger's rights by ordering a jury to convict.

"The trial judge usurped the jury's function," the Supreme Court justices wrote in a 15-page ruling.

"In a trial by judge and jury, the verdict must be that of the jury, not the judge."

Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Judge Paul Chrumka ordered jurors to find him guilty because Krieger admitted distributing marijuana.

Two jurors objected and said their consciences wouldn't permit them to convict. Chrumka refused to excuse them.

That decision was upheld by the Alberta Court of Appeal.

Justice Morris Fish, writing for the Supreme Court, said: "In effect, the trial judge reduced the jury's role to a ceremonial one."

"He ordered the conviction and left to the jury, as a matter of form but not of substance, its delivery in open court," Fish wrote.

Krieger was diagnosed with MS in 1978 and first charged in 1999 after police seized 29 marijuana plants -- a grow op he admitted to maintaining at his Calgary home.

Since then, Krieger said his fight has been costly in terms of legal fees and lost product confiscated by police.

"It's cost me everything so far -- family, friends. Family was the worst hit," said Krieger, who is estranged from his wife of 25 years.

Despite the cost, he's looking forward to a new trial.

"I asked for a trial by my peers. I got a trial by a judge," he said.

Canadians may smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes but are not allowed to cultivate plants or supply them to other people.

The Supreme Court decision had some strong political overtones, said John Winterdyk, a criminologist with Mount Royal College.

"The Supreme Court recognized Canadian sovereignty rather than kowtowing to American will," said Winterdyk.

The Americans long ago "got their noses out of joint" and have been critical of what they consider to be lax Canadian marijuana laws, he said.

"Americans are saying, 'We've got the war on drugs. Those guys up north are not only letting terrorists run across the border but they're soft on drugs,' " said Winterdyk.

The highest court was "upholding Canadian law, not the interests of American counterparts," he said.

"I think it's a fairly progressive comment on something that is politically and socially sensitive. There's a fine line between medical and personal use."

Meanwhile, Krieger was convicted last month on another two trafficking charges in the Alberta courts. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February.



August 1999: Calgarian Grant Krieger, a multiple sclerosis sufferer since 1978, is first charged with possession and trafficking of marijuana, plus breach of probation, and is jailed for sixteen days.

August 2000: Krieger files a Charter of Rights and Freedoms application in Alberta Court of Queen's Bench to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

December 2000: In a landmark Alberta Court of Queen's Bench ruling Krieger wins the right to grow and possess marijuana, but may not redistribute the drug.

December 2003: Court of Queen's Bench jury finds Krieger guilty of possession and trafficking of marijuana.

April 2005: Alberta Court of Appeal upholds Krieger's 2003 conviction for possession of marijuana, in a 2-1 split decision.

Oct. 26, 2006: In a 7-0 ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada grants a new trial to Krieger, overturning his 2003 conviction.

Source - Calgary Herald Archive

Compiled by Aideen McCormick


Pot Activist to Get New Trial
by Kirk Makin, Justice Reporter, (27 Oct 2006)

Globe and Mail Canada
Judge 'Usurped' Jurors' Function by Ordering Conviction, Top Court Rules

Jurors have an unassailable power to refuse to convict accused people if they sense that a law or prosecution is unjust, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled yesterday.

A 7-0 majority ordered a new trial for a Calgary medical marijuana activist -- Grant Wayne Krieger -- concluding that Mr. Krieger was deprived of a probable acquittal when a judge instructed two conscience-stricken jurors that they had no choice but to convict him.

"Unfortunately, the trial judge usurped the jury's function," Mr. Justice Morris Fish wrote for the court. "He evidently considered it his duty to order the jury to convict, and to make it plain to the jurors that they were not free to reach any other conclusion."

Mr. Krieger, a 52-year-old man who suffers from multiple sclerosis, admitted the essence of the offence at his trial. He proceeded to throw himself on the mercy of the jury, explaining that he produced and distributed the illegal drug in order to alleviate the suffering of others.

This rarely used legal tactic -- known as jury nullification -- has succeeded from time to time in cases where jurors sympathized with the plight of an accused person who was being prosecuted under a controversial law. Those who favour it believe that jury nullification is a vital safeguard against oppressive laws and unjust prosecutions.

"It is a topic that courts don't like talking about," said Alan Young, a law professor at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School.

The Supreme Court stressed yesterday that a jury cannot be openly urged to ignore a law or the evidence in a case -- they must arrive at that decision on their own. Judge Fish said that jury nullification should be seen not as a right, but as "the power to do so when their consciences permit of no other course."

"This is a marvellous decision that truly enshrines the right of a Canadian to have a jury trial," Mr. Krieger's lawyer, C. John Hooker, said in an interview. "This is an incredibly important right."

Mr. Krieger said that he now intends to run a similar defence at both his retrial for the production charge and at a separate trafficking trial he faces in Winnipeg.

"As far as I'm concerned, the only way I am going to stop doing this is if they give me life in prison without parole," he said. "My main concern is the sick, the injured and the dying. I have such a conviction within me that I am not able to stop what I do."

Police raided Mr. Krieger's house in 1999 and seized 29 marijuana plants. At his 2003 trial, one of the two upset jurors told the trial judge: "I believe that I could not live with myself if I was part of a conviction of this man."

After the judge rejected their entreaties, the jury returned a guilty verdict. Mr. Krieger was sentenced to one day in jail.

Yesterday, Judge Fish endorsed a long-ago House of Lords judgment which stated: "No matter that the guilt of the accused cries out to the heavens through the voices of all the judges in England. This is the first and traditional protection that the law gives to an accused."

The most famous instance of jury nullification in Canada involved abortion doctor Henry Morgentaler, who was acquitted of performing illegal abortions by several juries in the 1970s and 1980s, even though he freely admitted having broken the law.

Prof. Young said the Krieger ruling is a major relief. "I'm happy about the ruling because, over the past 10 years, we have seen more and more cases where courts are questioning the importance of juries."

Under the law, individuals can legally possess marijuana for personal medicinal purposes. However, advocates such as Mr. Krieger complain that despite having the legal right to grow pot, obstacles remain -- such as obtaining house insurance or growing a supply when one is too sick to function.
Don't believe anything they say.
And at the same time,
Don't believe that they say anything without a reason.
---Immanuel Kant
10-29-2006, 07:45 PM,
Calgary Pot Crusader Wins Top Court Ruling
Heh... I once bought a bag of pot with a label on it.... Krieger foundation.
10-30-2006, 05:17 AM,
Calgary Pot Crusader Wins Top Court Ruling
This is exceptionally good in terms of case law. Its another example of the one area in which Canada is still not totally in the shitter in terms of preserving freedom.
Wyrd bi∂ ful aræd : Vituð ér enn eða hvat?
[Image: madwolfoy0.jpg][Image: sharksmall1kd6.jpg][Image: bearkodiakchugachfe7.jpg]
10-30-2006, 07:55 AM,
Calgary Pot Crusader Wins Top Court Ruling
Quote:Heh... I once bought a bag of pot with a label on it.... Krieger foundation.

LOL guess the court didnt hear about that piece of evidence.:D
Do you really think your a higher form of life? You...With your dripping jaws, and your bloodshot eyes. You...With your varicosities and your vermin for an appendix. You...with your hemroids and assterioids. Often I wake up at night and ponder these matters. And then I feel very strongly that I should talk them over with Brother Theodore...and then, and then I wake up fully and remember that I am Brother Theodore. And my heart aches. And my tears flow. And I see my Aunt Marie floating in the chicken soup...more dead than alive...more naked than not. And oh, now I see a mailman, a mailman giving birth to a dog of all things!

Never a moments peace, never a moments peace...never a moments peace.

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