When it comes to possession of stolen property charges in Canada, finding the best defence will largely depend on your alleged case’s unique circumstances. It’s best to consult with a professional criminal defence lawyer right from the start to find the most appropriate defence for your criminal charge. These attorneys have years of experience dealing with several possession offences and can help determine the most effective way to resolve your legal matter.
The following are some of the best defences against possession of stolen property charges:
Absence Of Mens Rea
One of the most common yet highly effective ways of defending yourself against stolen asset charges is to argue that you didn’t have the Mens Rea or “intent/mental ability” required to commit the offence under discussion. Your legal team can demonstrate that you didn’t have the intent necessary to be found guilty of this felony as you didn’t know that item was stolen.
It’s also possible that you purchased an item from someone without knowing that it was illegally obtained. In that case, even though you owned a stolen asset; you wouldn’t have the required criminal intent to commit the crime. Nonetheless, to raise this defence in the court of law, you will still have to prove that you were not willfully blind towards owning a stolen item.
Suppose you had bought an item from somebody in increasingly suspicious events or in events where an average person might consider the property as a stolen one. In that case, you can argue that you acquired the asset because you couldn’t prove that the item was indeed stolen.
It’s worth noting here that if the asset under consideration is a vehicle with a tampered VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), you will need to overcome the pre-assumed notion that you knew that the car was stolen. That’s because, under the Canadian Criminal Code, when it comes to a vehicle with a tampered VIN, it’s taken as proof that the person in possession of such a car knew that they acquired the vehicle through illegal means.
Absence Of Sufficient Evidence For Successful Conviction
Based on your particular case, the Crown Prosecutor might attempt to prove your guilt regarding the possession of a stolen asset based on a piece of circumstantial evidence only. To convict you based on circumstantial evidence alone, the Crown Prosecutor will have an increased burden to prove that the only inference derived from the evidence presented during the trial is that you’re guilty of the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
In your defence, your criminal defence lawyer could ask the court to exclude the circumstantial piece of evidence from your trial via Charter Motions and successful exclusion orders. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees you specific rights, like freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, full disclosure, and the right to counsel.
Suppose the police had violated one or two such rights during the investigation process. In that case, your legal team can have grounds for making a Charter Motion and ask the justice to exclude some of the evidence from your trial. This exclusion of part of the evidence can result in insufficient evidence against you to convict you of the criminal offence beyond a reasonable doubt.
About Slaferek Callihoo
Slaferek Callihoo is an experienced criminal defence law firm based in Edmonton, Alberta. We help our clients defend different criminal cases, including possession of stolen property charges in Edmonton and its surrounding areas. Visit our website to learn about our professional legal services or contact us for legal consultation.