Thursday, September 03, 2009

Ontario seizes bikes using 'Civil Remedies' Act

Our board member Karen Selick explains in the Globe and Mail...

Bicycle-store owner Igor Kenk may or may not eventually be found guilty of theft. Certainly, the 2,865 used bicycles seized by police in a high-profile raid on his Toronto premises last year need some explaining, especially after 573 of them were returned to people who proved rightful ownership. But Mr. Kenk's criminal trial on 100 criminal counts related to stolen bicycles and drugs won't begin for at least six months.

Meanwhile, the Ontario Attorney-General's office has decided to skip the niceties of waiting for the trial. This week, they brought a separate court application to confiscate not only the remaining 2,292 bicycles but also Mr. Kenk's $700,000 shop and two trucks. The government is proceeding under the Civil Remedies Act, which the province enacted in 2001.

Why not wait and see if there's a conviction? Simple. The provincial law makes it much easier than federal law to confiscate a suspect's property.

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