A Surrey home renter was acquitted on three pot-related charges after judge decided the Crown had not proved the accused knew about the grow-operation in its basement. (Photo: Max Pixel)

Judge finds Surrey renter didn’t know about pot grow in basement

Raafat Badr acquitted of growing marijuana, possession for purpose of trafficking, electricity theft

Upstairs, downstairs.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has found a Surrey man not guilty of growing marijuana, possession for the purpose of trafficking or theft of electricity after finding the Crown hadn’t proven that the accused knew what was going on in the basement of a house he’d been renting at 17373 100th Ave. in Fraser Heights.

Acting on a search warrant and armed with a battering ram, police found a “sophisticated” marijuana grow-op with 237 plants which, if sold in pounds, would have a street value of about $52,000.

The case was heard in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

“Dealing with the charge of theft of electricity was relatively straightforward,” Justice Peter Leask noted in his reasons for decision.

“It took an expert to locate the bypass. No consumer reading the hydro bill would see anything abnormal — that’s the whole purpose of the bypass. There was no evidence that the accused knew anything about it. I found him not guilty.”

READ ALSO: ZYTARUK: Gee, academics discover smoking pot leads to bad school grades

The judge noted that the Crown’s case was circumstantial as it related to the charge of producing marijuana.

“The Crown’s case is circumstantial,” he found. “The accused rents the house and lives upstairs. The Crown asks me to draw the inference that he must know of the existence of the grow-op in the basement.”

But Leask had a reasonable doubt that the accused, Raafat Badr, knew of the grow-op, noting a “caretaker” could have entered an exterior door to the basement to look after the grow-op without ever having to pass through the front door, which seven Surrey RCMP officers had broken open using a steel ram on Feb. 20, 2013.

“The Crown presented no evidence that the accused had ever been in the basement; no belongings of his; no fingerprints; nothing whatesoever,” Leask noted. “The police evidence was that the upstairs was relatively neat and tidy. In the basement, there was a bathroom with fecal material in the toilet. I believe that leads to the reasonable inference that some person other than the accused frequented the basement and used the toilet.”

Leask found Badr not guilty on all three counts.

tom.zytaruk@ surreynowleader.com

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Comic Amit Tandon will get Surrey laughing at life’s challenges

Popular South Asian comedian performing Sunday at Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre

Historic cricket league aims to get Surrey into the game

As new season approaches, British Columbia Mainland Cricket League looks to hit it out of the ground

Hundreds attend sixth-annual Jim Gallagher boxing tournament in Cloverdale

Jim Gallagher Memorial Award given to longtime volunteer Ken Marjoram

Lab-closure meeting set for Friday in Ocean Park

Fraser Health to hear residents’ concerns from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Ocean Park Community Hall

Surrey averaging one shooting a week in 2018

Police believe Friday night shooting in 13200-block of 62nd Avenue was targeted

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Dawson Creek man, wanted in court, sought by B.C. RCMP

33-year-old Jeremiah Alexander Smith’s vehicle found abandoned near Hope

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

Most Read