Travis Wayne Boulrice was charged with three counts of drug trafficking after a police investigation into dial-a-dope drug sales in Surrey.
Surrey provincial court Judge Mark Jetté found Boulrice not guilty on all counts, on April 21, after two constables had a look at his driver’s licence photo prior to doing an in-court identification, which the judge said was “the equivalent to the viewing of a one man photo pack some two and a half years after the events of September 2018.”
Jetté noted there was only one issue to be decided in the case, and that was whether the Crown had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Boulrice was the guy who sold Xanax and cocaine to undercover police roughly two and a half years ago.
Boulrice was the only person seated in the gallery when the police officers pointed him out, after refreshing their memories by looking at his licence photo.
“In my view, this case is no different from any identification case involving civilian witnesses,” Jetté noted in his reasons for decision. “The same dangers of mistaken identification may arise depending on the circumstances. Where police investigate, do not make an arrest, and a long time passes before charges are sworn, there may be problems proving the case when the case finally comes to trial.”
Jetté concluded the Crown “failed to prove the element of identification” beyond a reasonable doubt because the officers had a look at his photo before evidence, “the two in-dock identifications of the only possible target in the courtroom gallery,” one of the constables’ “frank concession” she likely wouldn’t recognize the man who sold drugs to her if she saw him at a local grocery store, flaws that “undermined the reliability” of another officer’s evidence over all, “the absence of a particular distinguishing feature which matched the trafficker to the accused before the court,” and the absence of “anything else in the evidence which served to buttress or corroborate the in-dock identifications of the two police witnesses.”