‘Dirty tricks’ used to get accused YVR screener to talk: Lawyer 0
Two Vancouver airport screeners snuck a backpack of ecstasy through YVR’s employees’ entrance in 2011 so a passenger could smuggle the drugs to Los Angeles, a Crown lawyer said in the trial opening for the pair on Thursday.
On the same day, the passenger, Dylan Scott Green, pleaded guilty in B.C. Provincial Court in Richmond to a count of possessing ecstasy for export. It’s expected his second charge, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, would be stayed.
The screeners, Ajitpal Singh Judge and Gurvinder Singh Pahl, are both charged with the same offences and additional charges of breach of trust by a public officer.
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority said they have both been terminated from their jobs.
Prosecutor Anita Chan told the court the passenger met Pahl in a washroom past security at YVR on May 9, 2011, where they exchanged similar-looking backpacks.
Pahl’s backpack contained 14 kilograms of MDMA, Chan said. Green was carrying clothes and personal items before the exchange.
The employees’ entrance at YVR uses a “pad” employees step on to randomly determine whether or not they’ll be checked. A green arrow indicates entry without search, while red means a search will be conducted.
The Crown said Pahl and Judge both stepped on the pad simultaneously the day the drugs were brought in. Pahl was carrying the bag and Judge’s role was to make himself available for search had the light turned red — which would have given Pahl another opportunity to try again.
The arrow flashed green on the first try that day.
Green was arrested the same day before boarding. A review of security footage resulted in the screeners’ arrests May 20.
Following their arrests, both accused acknowledged aspects of the alleged offences — including how Judge was offered $500 for his role — which the Crown calls “admissions” — but the admissibility of the statements as evidence is now being challenged.
Matthew Nathanson, representing Judge, said his client repeatedly told police he would exercise his right to silence but the questioning continued.
He alleged police used “dirty tricks” to get his client to talk. This included how one officer erroneously told his client the investigation could be related to terrorism, relating to “nuclear materials” being smuggled, and the suggestion that his client could be involved.
Nathanson alleged police, without obtaining a warrant, also went to his client’s home and recorded videos of pleas from his family and searched his bedroom — while Judge waited in custody — in another attempt.
Pahl’s statements to an undercover officer while he waited in a jail cell is also expected to be challenged. According to the Crown, he admitted to having committed the offence “four times” to the officer.