Alain Philippon pleads guilty over smartphone password border dispute

A Quebec man who refused to disclose his smartphone password to border officials at Halifax Stanfield International Airport last year has been fined $500.

Quebec man flew from the Dominican Republic to Halifax in March 2015

A Quebec man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of hindering or preventing border officers after refusing to give up his smartphone password at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. (iStock)

A Quebec man who refused to give his smartphone password to border officials at Halifax Stanfield International Airport last year has pleaded guilty and been fined $500.

Alain Philippon, of Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., had said he would fight the charge of hindering or obstructing border officials, but changed course Monday morning when his lawyer entered a guilty plea on his behalf in provincial court in Dartmouth, N.S.

Philippon​ flew from the Dominican Republic to Halifax in March 2015. At the airport, he picked up his bags and headed to the customs security check.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Philippon had $5,000, two phones and traces of cocaine on his bags when he arrived in Halifax.

Canada Border Services Agency officials asked for Philippon's smartphone and its password. He handed over his BlackBerry but refused to disclose the code to access the phone.

Philippon was arrested and charged under the federal Customs Act, accused of hindering or obstructing border officials.

The $500 fine was jointly recommended by the Crown and the defence. Philippon's phone is still being held by the Canada Border Services Agency.