Trafficking Cocaine and Possession of the Proceeds of Crime
D.O., a client of Mr. Cohen’s, was charged with trafficking cocaine and possession of the proceeds of crime. It was alleged that the accused handed a baggie of powder cocaine to an officer who was acting in an undercover capacity as a drug purchaser. D.O. denied handing the baggie to the officer, and stated that it was actually his friend who had done so.
Mr. Cohen raised a number of points in cross-examination challenging the reliability of the undercover officer’s recollections of this very short drug transaction. Mr. Cohen challenged the sequence of events and verbal interactions which occurred. Mr. Cohen then confronted the officer with testimony which he had given at the preliminary inquiry. He cross-examined the officer on his recollection of the accused’s clothing and whether the officer had made any observations of the accused’s arm, which was heavily tattooed. The officer did not recall any notable features on the accused’s arm. This was the arm that the accused purportedly extended towards the officer when the alleged drug transaction occurred.
As a result of Mr. Cohen’s cross-examination of the undercover officer, the Judge found:
“I make these observations not to suggest that [the undercover officer] was an incredible or deceitful witness. I would not make that finding at all. In fact, I think that it is most likely that the events in the car transpired in exactly the manner that the officer recalled. The difficulty, however, is that these discrepancies and omissions from the officer’s evidence given rise to legitimate concerns about the reliability of his evidence. If he could fail to mention significant portions of the dialogue in the car and fail to notice relevant markings on the left arm of the man who supposedly passed him the cocaine, one must wonder if it is not also reasonably possible that he is mistaken with respect to which arm passed him the cocaine.
I find that the Crown has failed to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The charges were dismissed on December 20, 2017.
Impaired Driving and Refusing a Breathalyzer
In a recent case heard in Kitchener, Mr. Cohen defended an individual, G.H., who was charged with impaired driving and refusing to blow.
The trial evidence was heard over 7 days and involved a multiplicity of issues, including Charter issues. The defendant left his house one afternoon, boarded his vehicle and drove into a tree. Blood tests revealed that his blood alcohol level was over 400, or at least 5 times the legal limit. Although, these skeletal facts do not do justice to the complexity of the 7 day trial.
The refuse to blow charges were dismissed and ultimately a conviction was registered for the impaired driving charge. However, the defendant received the minimum penalty prescribed by law for a conviction of this nature.
In the course of the argument and delivery of the final judgment, the trial Judge delivered the following comments with regard to Mr. Cohen’s defence of the client:
“Let me say that I really respect you for the work and the effort that you’ve put into this”
… “and it’s what you want to see in- in our community, this kind of fight for the rights of -of people”
“Good point. It’s a good point, what you’re saying here. It’s a misapplication of the Privacy Act. I- I find it frustrating”
“I think that would have been an interesting argument and-and…I would have entertained that argument. Whether or not it would have been successful, of course is another thing. But certainly would have felt that a careful counsel would raise something like that. Many counsel wouldn’t, but- but a thorough counsel would, and I -I think that there’s merit there. So you know, good for you…I felt that- that [the Sergeant] could have done it better than he did, and you had a- a good point “
“…and I must apply the law. And, also, I want you unequivocally to understand I admire and respect your counsel for the vigour in which he has pursued trying to get a remedy in this case.”
Taxpayer v. Canada Revenue Agency
After a six-year battle, signal success was achieved in a tax matter which started with an objection to reassessments against the Taxpayer for four calendar years. The Government position was based on a net worth assessment and developed from that point into an extremely complex matter. Howard C. Cohen and Associates carried the fight against the Government’s intransigence right from the beginning and achieved a favourable judgment against the Government’s reassessment in 2016, almost four years later.
From that point, a perfunctory readjustment of Harmonized Sales Tax (H.S.T.) was sought, however, the Government refused to make the adjustments, instead insisting that a separate appeal had to be launched. That resulted in additional litigation, which was ultimately decided on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018. The Taxpayer was successful in all respects and the Canada Revenue Agency was ordered to credit the Taxpayer with the tax adjustment on the income that was recalculated by the court.
This case is a prime example of the approach that Howard C. Cohen & Associates takes when dealing with the Federal Government who, in most instances, do not have to pay the costs of the Taxpayer in the event of the Taxpayer’s success in the litigation. As such, protracted legal battles very regularly result. Indeed there has been much criticism of the net worth analysis employed by Revenue Canada to calculate taxes owing. Essentially income is attributed to the Taxpayer based upon the net worth of physical acquisitions and the accumulation of wealth during the relevant years.