RCMP tricked addict into heroin deal, lawsuit claims
Former Quebec junkie suing Mounties, federal attorney general for $47 million
The cocaine lifestyle of the 1980s was impossible to resist for one former Quebec drug addict, who claims he was tricked by RCMP agents into orchestrating a drug deal that left him sitting in a Thai jail for more than eight years.
Alain Olivier is suing several former RCMP officers and the Attorney General of Canada for $47 million, claiming he was entrapped and his Charter rights infringed.
His lawsuit, filed in Quebec Superior Court in Montreal, alleges he was cornered into buying $10,000 worth of heroin in Bangkok in 1989.
Despite an RCMP officer being killed under mysterious circumstances during the botched operation, defence lawyers say investigators did nothing wrong.
"The RCMP has norms to respect and those norms were respected," said David Lucas, who is representing both the former agents and the government.
Court hears about life as an addict
Olivier took the stand on the first day of arguments in the lawsuit Tuesday, stressing that while he had been a heavy drug user, he was never involved in trafficking.
He regaled the court with vivid details about his life as an addict, including his first encounter with heroin while in Bangkok. "I knew then it would be my drug of choice for the rest of my life," he told the court. "It was like an epiphany."
Olivier admitted to returning home from that trip to Asia in 1987 with a small amount of heroin he bought while in Nepal. That was enough to impress a chartered boat operator in British Columbia, where Olivier was living at the time.
Olivier testified a friendship blossomed with the operator, who went by the name Glen Barry.
When not doing lines of cocaine or smoking marijuana together, Olivier said he took care of Barry's 8.5-metre fishing boat.
Olivier claimed that Barry painted him as a well-connected trafficker to a reputed mobster named Barry Bennett.
But nothing could have been farther from the truth, Olivier said. "You don't have be a genius to buy heroin in Thailand. All you have to do is ask a rickshaw driver."
Barry allegedly promised Olivier all the drugs he could hope for in exchange for setting up a major heroin deal in Thailand.
'That day my years of terror began'
Olivier told the court he was tempted but uneasy about the proposal, but said his choice in the matter ended following "the boat incident."
He said Bennett once returned Barry's boat with blood stains, two shell casings and minus the passenger Olivier had seen leave with Bennett.
"That day my years of terror began," Olivier said.
Barry allegedly made it clear to Olivier that he faced a similar fate himself if he did not agree to co-operate.
"Barry told me, 'Whether you like it or not, you're a part of this,' " Olivier said.
During his testimony Olivier repeatedly portrayed himself as a hapless drug addict who became entangled in something he wanted no part of.
"I'm not proud of what I did, but I never hurt anyone," he said.
Mounties confused plaintiff with twin, court told
Olivier was arrested in Thailand in 1989 with two kilos of heroin and charged with possession with intent to traffic. He spenteight and a halfyears in Bangkok jail before being returned to Canada in 1997.
Bennett and Barry— whose real name is Jean-Marie LeBlanc— turned out to be RCMP agents and are among those named in his lawsuit.
One of the major claims of Olivier's lawsuit, launched in 2003, is that the RCMP confused him with his twin brother when recruiting him for the police operation.
But Lucas told reporters: "The RCMP's case — despite small problems, small errors being committed during the affair— is fairly solid."
He added that Olivier's claims of mistaken identity are irrelevant because it would have only affected the background information the RCMP had on their suspect.
Olivier was to take the stand again on Wednesday.