Cape Breton Post
Investigators defend execution of warrants
SYDNEY — Federal prosecutors continued their efforts Friday to disprove claims by three of four accused charged in connection with a $3.6 million tax fraud that search warrants were improperly executed.
The accused have testified that investigators from Canada Revenue Agency failed to show them copies of the search warrants along with failing to explain what documents were being sought.
Accused Angela Macdonald has previously testified to being terrified in her Kentville home when investigators arrived on Nov. 22, 2017.
She said there was a commotion on the stairway and that investigators were pushing and touching her and at one point, she thought she felt a gun to her back.
Const. Kevin Lutz, of the Kentville Police Department, testified Friday that he accompanied CRA investigators to Macdonald’s home.
It is a practice of CRA to be accompanied by local police when executing warrants in some cases. CRA investigators are not authorized to carry side arms.
When asked if he drew his weapon while in the Macdonald home, Lutz responded, “absolutely not.”
“I would have no reason to grab for my gun,” testified the officer.
When cross-examining the officer, Macdonald began to cry in explaining why she was terrified with about a dozen strangers in her home searching everything in sight. Macdonald’s daughter was in school at the time and her husband had taken the dog for a walk.
Lutz said she understood how such a scene would be unnerving for anyone but at no time did he feel CRA investigators were rushing things.
The testimony comes in the Supreme Court trial for Lydia Saker, 76, of Sydney Mines; and her daughters, Georgette Young, 49, of North Sydney; Angela Macdonald, 47, of Kentville; and Nadia Saker, 45, of Leitches Creek. All of the accused are representing themselves.
The four individuals plus 10 companies they operated face a combined total of 60 offences — 40 counts of fraud (Criminal Code offences) and 20 counts of filing false and deceptive statements (Excise Tax Act offences).
The offences are alleged to have occurred between January 2011 and July 2015.
Mike Lemmon, a forensic computer analyst with CRA, testified that in arriving at Georgette Young’s North Sydney home on Nov. 22, 2017, Young was not interested in letting investigators into the home.
As she attempted to close the door, Lemmon said another investigator put his foot in the door which allowed investigators to gain entry.
During questioning by Young, Lemmon asked to refer to his notes made at the time.
“No, you are not allowed to look at your notes,” said Young.
“Just a second,” said Justice Robin Gogan, reminding Young a witness is allowed to look at their notes to refresh their memory and that it is the judge who makes that decision, not the accused.
Another CRA investigator Troy Stevens testified he was the one who placed his foot in the doorway to gain entry.
He said in pushing the door inward, Young stumbled back a few feet and had peed her pants.
Stevens said after Young changed and returned to the kitchen area of the home, investigator Michael Boudreau sat down and explained the warrant and what documents were being sought.
Young also complained that in pushing the door inward, investigators struck her in the head with the door.
Stevens said he wasn’t sure how that would have happened adding that Young never spoke about that while investigators were in her home.
Boudreau testified he did go through the warrant with Young and her husband and that after the search was over, he and the home owners did a walk through the premises and that neither expressed any concerns or problems.
The trial continues Monday.