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Teen and his lawyer miss pot trial

Jennifer Geens
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 08/06) - A judge fined an 18-year-old man for possession of marijuana and had stern words for his lawyer when neither showed up for a hearing last Wednesday, morning.

Joshua Moore's drug trial began Tuesday, Oct. 31 and was to continue Wednesday morning, but was postponed when neither the man nor his lawyer, Patrice Taylor, were present.

Territorial court Judge Bernadette Schmaltz issued a warrant for Moore's arrest and he was taken into custody at 11 a.m. The trial will continue Wednesday afternoon.

Taylor will appear before Schmaltz later this month to explain why she shouldn't be held in contempt of court. She told the court her client was late because he had no alarm clock and his mother was too busy to wake him.

On Oct. 31, RCMP Const. Michael Redmond testified that on Apr. 27, just before 9 p.m. he was walking to work along the Frame Lake Trail and saw three men and a woman near the Somba K'e Park playground passing something between them.

Redmond was in full uniform at the time. As he got closer, he testified, he saw that they were passing around a bottle of vodka, which the woman attempted to hide under her coat.

He arrested the four for consuming liquor in a public place and then searched them for more bottles of alcohol, beginning with Moore.

Redmond found a bulge in the pocket of the man's hoody and asked him to remove the object.

It turned out to be a ziploc baggy containing 16 tinfoil packets of marijuana.

After searching the others, Redmond released them with a verbal warning, and arrested the man for possession of marijuana.

Taylor argued the search had breached her client's charter rights but Schmaltz ruled there was overwhelming circumstantial evidence that Moore had been drinking in a public place, including the fact that he appeared intoxicated at the time.

After Wednesday's trial, Moore was convicted and fined $800.

"You're an adult now," Schmaltz said. "You don't sleep in because your mom wasn't there to wake you up."