Nova Scotia

Province seeks to keep money seized in drug raid

A Sydney Mines man arrested in a drug raid faces the forfeiture of $5,725 — the first case under a new law that allows the province to seize property without a conviction.

A Sydney Mines man arrested in a drug raid faces the forfeiture of $5,725 — the first case under a new law that allows the province to seize property without a conviction.

On Monday, the province will be in Nova Scotia Supreme Court to try to keep the money that was taken from John Joseph Reynolds after a drug bust at his home.

Reynolds is the first test of the new Civil Forfeiture Act and Assets Management and Disposition Act, which took effect on April 29.

Under the act, property can be seized without anyone being found guilty of a crime. In Reynold's case, the Crown will try to show there was a probability the $5,725 was earned illegally. If he can't prove it wasn't, the province gets to keep it.

Reynolds, 36, faces two counts of possession of marijuana. He isn't charged with drug trafficking and has no convictions for it.

Dan Harrison, a spokesman for the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, said the new act goes further than previous proceeds-of-crime legislation.

"This is a specific act that allows property to be forfeited whether or not there has been a criminal conviction," he said.

Police say they expect the new act will ultimately cut down on crime.

Staff Sgt. Ron Donovan, with Cape Breton Regional Police, said if the Crown wins a few of these cases, word will get around that crime doesn't pay.

"Definitely it is going to hit the criminal side of our community a lot harder," Donovan said.

"They think it's a quick fix, but as it turns out, when they get caught it turned out to be a real nightmare for them … They may have smaller kids and say, 'Oh this is great, we got a new TV,' but that TV was bought because of money that was taken in from drugs that were sold on the street to someone else."

The province says the money earned through these cases will be used to fund court costs, crime prevention programs and services for victims.

Reynolds is due in court Tuesday to enter a plea.

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