Closing arguments in Sandro Lisi trial allege conspiracy against friend of Rob Ford

Rob Ford's former driver Alexander 'Sandro' Lisi is the victim of a conspiracy, his lawyers allege.
Lawyer Domenic Basile, with his client Alexander 'Sandro' Lisi behind him, stands in front of Old City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday. (Mehrdad Nazarahari/CBC)

Rob Ford's friend and former driver Alexander (Sandro) Lisi is the victim of a conspiracy, his lawyers allege.

Lawyers for Lisi said in the closing arguments in his trial for drug trafficking charges that he did not sell drugs to an undercover officer, and that there was a concerted effort to charge him in the case.

Lisi's lawyer, Domenic Basile, told the judge that, yes, $900 in marked bills were found in his client's pocket Oct. 1, 2013, but that doesn't mean he supplied the drugs to the officer, Det. Ross Fernandes.

Basile posed several questions to the court about the charges. If Lisi sold the three bags of marijuana to the police, then why were his fingerprints not lifted from the bags? And  if police had Lisi under 24-hour surveillance, how come there is no video of Lisi dropping off the drugs that day?
Jamshid Bahrami is seen outside a Toronto court. He is on trial for alleged drug-related offences alongside Alexander (Sandro) Lisi. (The Canadian Press)

The court had previously heard that an undercover officer, Fernandes, befriended Lisi's friend, Jamshid Bahrami, a dry cleaning operator with a licence for medical marijuana, and bought $900 worth of the drug from him.

A little more than an hour later Lisi arrived at the dry cleaners. He was arrested after leaving the dry cleaners with the drug money in his pocket.

Bahrami was also arrested.

Police 'planned and conspired' to arrest Lisi

The court heard the undercover officer never spoke to or met Lisi.

Lisi's lawyer said there was no conspiracy between his client and Bahrami to sell drugs, but he said there was a conspiracy in the case.

"Between senior police brass and the undercover officer who planned and conspired, and had meetings and briefings as to how get Mr. Lisi to sell to the undercover officer," said Basile.

Fernandes admitted he'd never seen an investigation involving the use of surveillance aircraft and so-called pole cameras, some of the tactics police used to investigate Ford after reports emerged that someone had a video of the then-mayor smoking crack cocaine.

Lisi, a friend and occasional driver for the city's former mayor Rob Ford, and Bahrami have both pleaded not guilty to several drug-related charges.

The two were arrested at the height of the crack video scandal that plagued the former mayor for his last two years in office. Ford, who has since become a city councillor, was never charged.

With files from the CBC's Michelle Cheung