Harassed by Police and Charged with Crimes for Legal Possession and Sale of Knives

Submitted by Jeremy McInnis

I live in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, in Eastern Canada. I work 7 days a week and adhere to the laws to the best of my ability. On the weekends I get up at 6AM and travel into the city (Halifax) to operate a small booth at a weekend market. Among other things I sell swords and knives, all of which are shipped into the country legitimately. I pay all duties, brokerage, taxes, etc. Customs is able to check these items at will, and they usually do.

On April 13th, 2013 three police officers entered the weekend market and told me that my knives “looked to be prohibited.” They had no search warrant but removed me from the booth and proceeded to search from one end to the other. I was patted down and my SA pocket knife (legal) was taken. I told them I use it to open packages, boxes, and such. The knives in question, that got their manties in a bunch, were 23 folding knives with a spring assisted opening, 9 novelty pocket knives with a 2” blade in which the handle looks like a bullet, 2 Cane Swords, and 13 Kubotans.

In the end they left with 40 items, all of which they deemed weapons. I advised them the law indicates a knife or any other object is not a weapon unless it can be proven it is meant to be used as a weapon. I told them the knives were not prohibited weapons as they are listed in the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency – basically out ATF and homeland Security wrapped up into one) Memorandum D19-13-2 as being EXEMPT from being prohibited.

They confiscated the 40 items and told me they would be in contact to let me know if or what the charges would be. They walked out the door with $1,600.00 worth of my products. That’s not just pocket money or mad money. That’s my mortgage payment, car payment, groceries, power bill, etc.

Over the next week I studied the Criminal Code of Canada, The CBSA (Federal Police Agency) Memorandum D19-13-2,  and conducted research to ensure I had not broken the law. I spoke with 4 CBSA Agents, one of which is the Eastern Canada, weapons and prohibited weapons specialist. I also spoke with 2 criminal law attorneys. Both advised me that under these circumstances, there is no way I could be charged.

Relieved, I contacted the officer in charge and advised him of the law. I sent them copies of the Criminal Code with the related laws highlighted, a copy of the D19-13-2 with the related parts highlighted, and even a copy of a case file from Ontario where the exact same thing happened to a man and the Judge found that the man did not do anything illegal and that the knives were in fact not illegal.

I still had not been charged with anything at this point. People tell me to leave it alone, but I am unable to. We shouldn’t live in a police state. If I allowed this to happen, what’s to stop them from walking into our homes and taking whatever they want?

The next day, I received an e-mail from the officer advising me that I was being charged and should turn myself in. I went into the station and was put in a cell. I was printed and photographed and placed in an interrogation room. An officer advised me of the charges, gave me a court date, and told me that if I did not show up a warrant would be put out for my arrest.

The charges are as follows:

  • Concealed Weapon 90(1) CC – refers to carrying a “weapon”, prohibited device, concealed. I concealed nothing on me or in my shop. The knives were on a shelf behind my counter.
  • Possession of Prohibited Weapons 91(2) CC – refers to unlawful possession of prohibited weapons. None of the items are prohibited under the Canadians Criminal Code and are actually listed as exempt from being prohibited in the CBSA D19-13-2. That said a knife in of itself is not by definition a weapon unless it is proven that this is its intended use.
  • Possession to Traffic 100(2) CC – This one scares me as it appears that if the court somehow finds that these knives are prohibited it states that the minimum punishment is 3 years in prison.

I’m a 41-year-old who stands to lose everything. If I end up with a criminal record because of a cop’s conscious disregard of the law, I will not be able to travel outside of the country for at least a decade after my probation, as these are indictable offenses. I could end up in prison for 3 to 10 years.

Honestly, I think this whole thing has happened because the cops are pissed off that I called him out on their bullshit. It has nothing to do with enforcement of the law for them. It has nothing to do with protecting the public.

Cops are corrupt, egotistical, megalomaniacs that for the most part border on sociopathic tendencies. They are corrupt and lie even when they know you haven’t done anything wrong. Cops are the real criminals. As far as I am concerned, 3 police officers committed armed robbery when they entered my store and stole my property. They simply used their uniforms and lies about the law as their cover.

I will now be aggressively promoting your organization and website. It’s terrible the things that people are subjected to in the name of “the law”. But it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in standing up to it.


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