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Toronto Humane Society charges dropped, dodgy search to blame

We’re beginning to see a pattern here: prominent person accused of serious charges, months spent in legal limbo, case against said person falls apart due to a suspicious search by authorities. First, it was Rahim Jaffer when he was pulled over for DUI. Now, it’s the Toronto Humane Society and its head Tim Trow, which have had all charges dropped against them based on a search executed by the OSPCA back in 2009. Yesterday, the Toronto Star ran down the list of errors the OSPCA made with their warrant.

One of the breaches, Christine McGoey> said, was the fact that the warrant contained no end date. The OSPCA said it was told by a justice of the peace that none was necessary.

Other breaches included the OSPCA’s supposedly improper use of a Criminal Code section to conduct veterinary checks; the overly wide scope of material seized, which included personnel records, payroll records, thank you letters and employees’ doctor’s notes; and the fact that the OSPCA invited the media into the THS while executing the warrant.

“The media’s presence for the arrest of several accused persons is also of concern,” she said.

Not exactly Briscoe and Logan.

The OSPCA says the Crown should have brought the charges before a judge and let the judge decide whether the search was properly executed or not. That actually makes the whole thing sound even sketchier, as they’re basically asking a Crown attorney to waste a judge’s time, something people who wear black robes for a living are loath to do.

None of the players come off looking good here. Let’s recap:

• The Crown didn’t bringing charges • The OSPCA bungled the search (and let’s not forget the ringworm fiasco from earlier this year) • The THS now has a black mark on its reputation that isn’t exactly erased by the phrase “charges dropped on a technicality”

• Why charges were dropped in Humane Society case [Toronto Star] • Charges dropped against Toronto Humane Society, former president [Globe and Mail] • OSPCA charges against THS dropped [Toronto Sun] • Toronto Humane Society charges dropped [CBC News]

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