Wilful blindness - it's a term we don't often hear in the justice system.But five Chinese migrants are hoping it won't be their ticket to a criminal conviction.The group - along with 23 others yet to go on trial - were busted in October 2005 inside a massive Manitoba marijuana grow operation in which police seized an estimated $19 million (street value) in pot.While the alleged mastermind was somehow able to sneak out of Canada and has never been arrested, the down-and-out labourers who were pulled off the streets of Toronto with the promise of some quick, easy cash are left to face the legal music.Mike Cook, the lawyer representing the five who went on trial this week, claims his clients should be found not guilty because they didn't know what they were getting into. (Read story HERE
)The Crown doesn't buy their excuse, arguing these accused must have realized they were being pulled into an illegal enterprise.And if the promise of up to $300 a day didn't do it, what they saw upon arrival in rural Manitoba surely must have, the Crown says.All five accused have now testified in their own defence - through translators - and are sticking to their stories that they were innocent dupes.Some thought they were on a fruit and vegetable farm. Another man believed he was harvesting "Chinese medicinal herbs".It's an interesting case. With an even more interesting defence. We may have a verdict by the end of the week.In the meantime, what do you think? Guilty or not guilty? And are you, like some folks who have written to me, ticked that police poured so many resources into a marijuana operation? Or was this money well spent?