Bad beat: Questionable private-parts evidence, Black tax trouble, and a courthouse escape

Broken glass in a window. - iStockphoto, courtesy Getty Images

We’ve got fewer felonies than usual in this week’s wrap-up, but all sorts of courthouse intrigue and excitement.

Self-swab case heads to Supreme Court

Canada’s top court has OK’d an unusual appeal from an Alberta man who had to swab his own penis for evidence.

Ali Hassan Saeed was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy in 2011, but a damning piece of DNA evidence proved problematic. Saeed says the swab was an illegal search and violated his Charter right of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.

The original trial judge agreed that it was an “illegal, warrantless search,” but still allowed the evidence because police acted in good faith and there’s a pressing public interest in pursuing justice for sexual assault cases.

Alberta’s Court of Appeal upheld the conviction in 2014. The Supreme Court of Canada didn’t say why it would hear the appeal.

Taxman cometh for Conrad Black

On the other hand, the Supreme Court won’t give Conrad Black a break.

It rejected an appeal from the former newspaper mogul who was hoping to overturn a 2014 Tax Court ruling that ordered him to pay income tax on worldwide earnings dating back to 2002.

It was a desperate last gambit for the disgraced British peer hoping to shield millions of dollars from Canadian tax collectors.

The Federal Court of Appeal had already rejected Black’s bid.

Courthouse escape cut short

An action-movie moment at a Toronto courthouse had an ultimately anticlimactic ending this week.

In a misguided escape attempt, Jonnathon Willmott hurled himself through a second-storey window at the Old City Hall courthouse and fell six metres to the ground in a spray of glass. Witnesses said he was instantly up and running.

He didn’t make it far though, as nearby cops had him caught and cuffed within five minutes.

It sounds like a Jason Bourne-like move, but Willmott isn’t a superspy; he’s facing charges for alleged thefts from a local pharmacy and liquor store.

He’ll be back in court on May 6, and probably sitting far away from the windows.

Dynamic drunk-driving

Here’s a sign that your justice system might be a little too “revolving-door:” when you can get arrested for drunk driving four times in two days.

A Rhode Island man got a two-year jail sentence this week after a wild weekend in November 2014 that saw him drunkenly smash into three cars and a tree and get arrested three times in a single day (what’s the record on that?).

On his first three arrests, John Lourenco was released into his parents’ custody. Police were less forgiving on arrest number four.

In addition to the jail time, he’s paying a $34,000 fine and faces an eight-year licence suspension.

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