Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cocaine case dies in court

Suspect walks after $6-M bust

  • Print

One of the largest cocaine cases in Manitoba history has gone up in smoke after a controversial legal ruling.

Kuljinder Dhillon walked out of a Winnipeg courtroom a free man Thursday, despite getting caught behind the wheel of a semi-trailer containing approximately $6 million worth of drugs.

Queen's Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg said she reluctantly accepted the "blind courier" defence offered by Dhillon, who was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and likely faced at least 10 years behind bars if convicted.

Dhillon testified in his own defence and claimed he had no idea 38 kilograms of cocaine had been stashed inside a compartment for a cross-country road trip. Manitoba RCMP caught Dhillon, a resident of British Columbia, in 2007 at the weigh scales in West Hawk Lake while en route to Ontario with a large load of lumber.

"If probable guilt were enough, I would convict Mr. Dhillon," Greenberg said in handing down her ruling. "I do not find his evidence to be at all convincing. In fact, I find it to be suspicious."

But Greenberg said the Crown had failed to prove its case beyond a "reasonable doubt" as required by law.

Defence lawyer Sheldon Pinx had argued his client was an unwitting dupe of a criminal organization. He noted Dhillon was making the lengthy trip without proper decals on his truck, which is what ultimately led to police hauling him in for questioning.

Pinx asked why Dhillon would have done something so foolish had he known he was transporting one of the biggest drug hauls police have ever made in this province. Dhillon was also found to have incomplete log-book entries, which is another clear violation that brought the spotlight upon him.

"The fact he would knowingly expose himself to being caught is difficult to believe," Greenberg said Thursday in her decision. "One would expect a courier, especially of the quantity of drugs here, to be scrupulous in adhering to every rule of the road to avoid detection."

There were no fingerprints found on the drugs that could have linked them to Dhillon, and evidence showed several other people had access to the truck he was driving. Police also claimed there was no noticeable smell coming from the cocaine.

The Crown argued common sense was enough to prove Dhillon's guilt and the "only reasonable inference is that he knew."

They called an organized-crime expert who claimed it would be unheard of for a major drug-dealing network to give such a large, valuable shipment to a complete stranger. Only a person who had "demonstrated he could be trusted, probably by moving smaller quantities of drugs" would be given such an important task, the expert testified. A courier who lost the drugs would then be subjected to severe punishment, including the possibility of being marked for death, court was told.

Pinx argued the "blind courier" is likely an emerging trend within criminal organizations who are trying to avoid having people either rip them off or sell them out to authorities.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2012 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jim Flaherty remembered at visitation as irreplaceable

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Down the Hatch- A pelican swallows a fresh fish that it caught on the Red River near Lockport, Manitoba. Wednesday morning- May 01, 2013   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100615 - Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 The Mane Attraction - Lions are back at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Xerxes a 3-year-old male African Lion rests in the shade of a tree in his new enclosure at the old Giant Panda building.  MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google