Stay Application Dismissed Against Former Crime Stoppers President
The former president of Crime Stoppers of Windsor-Essex will be pleading guilty to a drug-related charge after an application to stay his charges was dismissed.
Jon Paul Fuller was charged with production and possession of marijuana along with drug trafficking following a drug bust on September 21, 2016.
The OPP seized 2,900 marijuana plants at a property at 1935 Fox Rd. in Leamington — valued at $2.9-million.
But as the case proceeded through the courts, a plea deal was reached between the defence and crown.
Crown witnesses were told about the plea deal before it was formally entered in court, and then the crown's boss, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, backtracked on the plea and subsequent sentence that was agreed to.
As a result, the defence filed an application to have the charges stayed because of an abuse of process.
Justice Renee Pomerance agreed there was an abuse of process.
"I find that the cumulative effect of the state conduct in this case — the disclosure to crown witnesses and the subsequent repudiation — has deprived the accused of the right to a fair trial," ruled Justice Pomerance who went on to say, "The accused should not be forced to confront witnesses who were improperly told of his intention to plead guilty at a trial that he had reason to believe was not going to occur. The trial of the accused would in my view result in an abuse of process and a violation of his rights."
But instead of staying the charges, Justice Pomerance ordered the original plea deal be entered at the end of this month.
"A stay would have a windfall quality, particularly in the absence of bad faith or deliberate misconduct by the prosecution," said Justice Pomerance.
Fuller was originally going to plea to being a party to cultivation with a 90-day intermittent sentence along with a $25,000 fine.
Outside of Superior Court, defence lawyer Andrew Bradie said the crown's witnesses should never have been told about the plea deal.
"It shouldn't have happened. Things happen. It just seemed that when police were calling the witnesses to cancel them, save them the inconvenience of attending court that they thought they'd tell them why."
Bradie admits his client was hoping, given the circumstances, that the charges were going to be stayed.
"He was disappointed," said Bradie. "It has been an emotional rollercoaster, you can imagine back on October 15th, he expected that the matter would be resolved and the matter would be behind him."
Federal Prosecutor Martin Park says the case proceeds at the end of the month.
"We will have to take time to consider the decision in a comprehensive manner and we have 30 days to decide what next steps to take."
A co-accused, Doc Van Phan of Leamington had his charges withdrawn.