A man who is set to go on trial for drug charges will not have his charges thrown out, despite an Abbotsford Police officer being caught on surveillance video possibly stealing money from the man’s residence.
Judge Edna Ritchie ruled today in Abbotsford provincial court that a stay of proceedings was not warranted for Brian Vincent MacDonald, 53.
MacDonald was charged last December with eight counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking in substances that include fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin, cocaine and meth.
It was revealed during previous court proceedings that there were hidden cameras in MacDonald’s bedroom that captured police activity during a search on Nov. 23, 2017.
The footage later showed what appeared to be an officer stuffing cash found in the bedroom into his sock.
Court documents indicate that the officer testified in court that he had put the money in his sock as part of a practical joke.
The officer said he had intended to pull out the money and present it to another officer as “the real jackpot,” the documents state.
He said he changed his mind about the joke and that he left the money in the home, but he couldn’t remember where or when.
MacDonald applied to have his charges stayed on the basis that the officer had stolen the money and that it was an “abuse of process” and an “egregious breach of trust.”
But the judge said even if she were to believe that the money had been stolen, she does not feel it would affect the case against MacDonald, as evidence from that search is not being used in court, and the officer acted alone.
“I am not satisfied that a stay of proceedings is warranted as a stay would be a disproportionate response given the seriousness of the charges against Mr. MacDonald and the societal interest in having the charges dealt with,” Ritchie said.
The hearing into the matter took place over five days in April and May. MacDonald is next due to appear in court on June 19.
The officer caught on video is still under investigation, and no charges have been laid. He remains suspended from duty.
MacDonald and another man were charged after police executed search warrants on a home, storage locker and three vehicles.