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Pot-trial lawyer given time to prepare questioning

Feb 02 2012

A Victoria man's challenge to Health Canada's medical-marijuana access regulations was delayed in B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday to allow his defence lawyer to prepare for a cross-examination.

Owen Edward Smith, 29, challenged the regulations in relation to charges against him from

Dec. 3, 2009, when a police search of a downtown apartment turned up large amounts of pot cookies and cannabis-infused baking oils.

Smith was the head baker for the Cannabis Buyers' Club of Canada at the time. Officers discovered the apartment was being used as a bakery to make items to be sold through the club.

They charged Smith with possession for the purpose of trafficking THC and unlawful possession of marijuana.

His court challenge began Jan. 16, but quickly went into a voir dire — a trial within a trial — when defence lawyer Kirk Tousaw challenged the validity of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

On Wednesday, the Crown's key witness, Hanan Abramovici, was supposed to testify, but Tousaw said he had not been given enough time to prepare.

Justice Robert Johnston agreed and adjourned the trial until Monday.

Johnston said "there may be a risk" in providing the accused with an "inadequate opportunity to cross-examine."

dspalding@timescolonist.com

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