Summary

40971

Floriano Sylvester Daponte v. His Majesty the King

(Ontario) (Criminal) (By Leave)

Keywords

Criminal law — Evidence — What is the appropriate scope of the reasonable inference that valuable contraband would not be left with someone without knowledge of its whereabouts? —Do the parameters of the reasonable inference remain in place in contexts where a single individual is arrested and searched in a small dwelling or vehicle and where multiple individuals have access to a large dwelling or property? — How should triers of fact carry out a constructive possession analysis that leverages this reasonable inference in cases involving co-accused and/or an alternative suspect?

Summary

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On August 13, 2017, the Ontario Provincial Police executed a search warrant at a farm property (the “property”). Charges arose from the discovery of $880,000 worth of drugs, including fentanyl, cocaine, morphine and oxycodone, and cash buried in a drive shed on the property where the applicant lived with his wife and ran a farm. More containers were found in the house, along with substantial quantities of packaging, digital scales, and more cash. A farm labourer with a criminal record for drug-related offences also lived on the property in a separate shed during weekdays. The trial judge rejected the applicant’s alternative suspect theory that the farm labourer was the culprit. The applicant and his wife were jointly convicted on different counts for possession of drugs and possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking contrary to ss. 4(1) and 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and one count for possession of proceeds of crime exceeding $5000 contrary to s. 354(1) of the Criminal Code. The applicant’s conviction appeal was dismissed. The wife’s conviction appeal was allowed.

Lower Court Rulings

February 4, 2020
Ontario Superior Court of Justice

2020 ONSC 755, 372/18
Convictions entered: three counts of possession of drugs, five counts of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime over $5000
April 13, 2023
Court of Appeal for Ontario

2023 ONCA 572, C68691
Conviction appeal dismissed