Credits: REUTERS/RICK WILKING
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments about whether a mother whose son used her property to grow marijuana was obliged to report him to the police even after she'd asked him to remove the plants.
The case goes back to 2006, after an anonymous source informed police about a marijuana grow-up at a 87-acre property in La Macaza, near Mt. Tremblant, Que. The property belonged to Nicole Rochon, but had been entrusted to her son while she lived in northeastern Quebec with her daughter.
Rochon testified she'd found evidence on her property that there was marijuana grown there, but since she didn't know who was responsible, she didn't want to remove anything herself, fearing possible retribution from the growers — a claim the trial judge found lacked credibility based on the evidence.
Instead, Rochon said she asked her son to get rid of it. She said she didn't call the police because she wanted to avoid getting her son in trouble with the law. She is herself a longtime marijuana user.
She was found guilty of production of marijuana and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking in 2008 because she had failed to call the police on her son. The judge agreed with the Crown that Rochon knew about the grow-op, and even that she helped with the harvest. But her conviction was overturned when the appeal judges ruled that in order to be found guilty by omission there has to be a clear legal obligation to act and that in this case, the duty to act is merely implied. The Crown wants the Supreme
Court to overturn that appeal and reinstate the conviction.