Charter application dismissed in multi-million Cape Breton fraud case
Sisters claimed searches of their homes by CRA investigators were unreasonable
A Nova Scotia judge says the searches of homes belonging to three sisters charged in a $3.6-million tax scheme were routine.
The accused are Georgette Young, Angela MacDonald and Nadia Saker, along with their mother, Lydia Saker.
The women have pleaded not guilty to a combined 30 charges, including fraud. They are representing themselves as the trial continues this week in Supreme Court in Sydney.
The sisters claimed they were subject to a Charter violation brought on by what they considered unreasonable searches of their homes. As part of an application made to the court, the women testified alongside their mother and Young's husband.
CRA investigators testify
The Crown also called several investigators from the Canada Revenue Agency who carried out the searches in November 2017.
In a written decision issued late Monday afternoon, Justice Robin Gogan ruled she was not persuaded that CRA's conduct was unreasonable.
In the 50-page document, Gogan addressed each search that sought proof that the women took part in what the CRA says is an elaborate tax fraud scheme that involved several companies under their names.
"I accept that the experience was shocking, traumatic, and felt invasive to each of the applicants," wrote Gogan.
"I conclude, in each case, that this state of mind likely impacted that perception of events."
Gogan also stated that she found that routine searches were conducted, following an "established protocol, and recorded in notes and photographs."
Angela MacDonald claimed that she felt her life was in danger after a police officer grabbed for a gun when she tripped and lost her balance.
MacDonald's testimony about that incident was dismissed by Gogan along with the assertion that MacDonald's husband was chased and dragged back to their home.
Meanwhile, Young claimed she was physically assaulted after being struck by a door and that she urinated in her pants while attempting to keep investigators from getting in.
Gogan said pieces of Young's testimony seemed "inherently irrational" and "highly implausible."
"She was an unfocused witness that was argumentative and evasive at times," Gogan wrote.
"She was also dramatic and seemed to relish repeating the more sensational aspects of her testimony."
On Tuesday, the court is expected to hear arguments on another application made by the women regarding whether their tax audit and criminal investigations were conducted properly.
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