SYDNEY, NS – It will be a key verdict in the defense of a Cape Breton mother and daughters indicted in connection with a $ 3.6 million tax fraud.
Supreme Court Justice Robin Gogan will make a decision on whether the search warrants issued to Canadian Treasury investigators have been properly enforced.
All of the defendants claim to have been inappropriately searched and confiscated.
If the judge decides in favor of the accused that the arrest warrants have not been properly executed, all evidence seized during the search may be considered inadmissible at the main hearing.
The defendants testified that the CRA investigators did not produce copies of the search warrants and did not explain what documents were searched. They also allege that while executing arrest warrants on November 22, 2017, investigators failed to properly identify themselves at three locations: Kentville, North Sydney and Leitches Creek.
The indicted are Lydia Saker, 76, of Sydney Mines and her daughters, Georgette Young, 49, of North Sydney; Angela MacDonald, 47, from Kentville and Nadia Saker, 45, from Leitches Creek. All defendants represent themselves.
The four people plus 10 companies they run are confronted with a total of 60 criminal offenses: 40 cases of fraud (criminal code violations) and 20 cases of false and misleading information (violations of the excise tax law).
The crimes are said to have occurred between January 2011 and July 2015.
It is alleged that the defendants issued fake invoices to Revenue Canada for tax rebates.
The defendants also accuse investigators of illegally confiscating computer equipment from their homes and violating their physical integrity.
Crown attorneys Mark Donohue (left) and Constantin Draghici-Vasilescu entered a Sydney courtroom on June 17, where they are prosecuting a Cape Breton mother and three daughters in a $ 3.6 million tax fraud case. CAPE BRETON MAIL PHOTO
Prosecutors Mark Donohue and Constantin Draghici-Vasilescu argued that it would have been quite a large conspiracy among CRA investigators if three separate search teams failed to produce copies of the arrest warrants, fail to explain the contents and the wanted, and people into their homes.
“Given the officers’ evidence, it is not believable that all three teams made the same mistakes,” said Donohue.
Defendant Angela MacDonald testified that she was scared at her home when investigators knocked on the door. She said she was pushed and attacked while walking up the stairs of her house thinking someone had put a gun on her back.
A Kentville police officer previously testified that he accompanied investigators to the house and never pulled his gun.
Georgette Young testified that investigators crushed her door so hard that she was crushed in the head, causing her to fall backwards on the floor and pee in her pants.
Young said she felt threatened in her own home as investigators told her they would bring the media with them on her next return.
Young said investigators failed to identify themselves properly and did not show identification.
She also asked why investigators were ransacking their children’s rooms, searching things like a sugar bowl and a sack of flour.
An arrest warrant issued for an apartment gives investigators the right to search any room in the apartment. While investigators denied the search of sugar and flour, nothing would stop them from conducting such a search, provided the warrant was correct.
Donohue noted that while Young was ransacking her children’s rooms, her sister (MacDonald) told investigators that the documents they were looking for were in the closet in her daughter’s bedroom.
“The evidence suggests that a reasonable search was conducted in an appropriate manner,” said Donohue, adding that data storage devices like a USB stick could easily be hidden in a sugar bowl.
Regarding the assault allegations, Donohue said none of the defendants raised the issue at the time of the search and told investigators that everything was okay.
CRA investigators testified that they showed their badges and explained the contents of the warrant. They also testified that after the search, they took the defendant through her home to make sure everything was okay.
Gogan’s verdict on the matter could fall on Tuesday.