Yellowknife mother wins protracted battle to recover seized vehicle

A judge from the NWT. Ordered authorities to return a Mercedes sport utility vehicle that was seized after a major drug case in Yellowknife five years ago.

Justice Andrew Mahar issued the order to the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories on Tuesday, dismissing the Crown’s argument that Mercedes ML500 owner Norman Hache transferred ownership to his mother after it was seized to avoid having to confiscate it.

In 2017, Hache was sentenced to five years in prison for running a drug trafficking ring that, at its peak, sold 250 grams per day of crack and powdered cocaine in Yellowknife and communities in the South region. Slavic. Some of his drug trafficking was carried out through a company known as Jerrie’s Delivery Services.

The Mercedes was Hache’s daily vehicle for the three months leading up to his arrest and charge. After taking into account the time he had already served before being sentenced, he had three years of sentence left. Hache was granted full parole in 2018 and now lives in British Columbia. He was listening to Tuesday’s court proceedings over the phone.

“Can I say something at any time?” he asked for arguments towards the end.

“No, you don’t,” Mahar replied.

It was Hache’s mother, local social activist Arlene Hache, who asked the court to recover the vehicle. She said she agreed to organize the purchase and financing, with the understanding that her son would insure it and make the payments.

3 different invoices for the vehicle

Arlene Hache said that despite their agreement, her son never made a single payment. She said she had made the payments since obtaining a loan of $ 35,573 to purchase the vehicle on January 25, 2016. Hache said she continued to make payments over the five years that the vehicle was impounded and recently completed reimbursement.

Prosecutor Duane Praught noted that ownership of the vehicle had transferred from Norman Hache to Arlene Hache 10 months after her arrest and the seizure of the vehicle. Praught presented three Yk Motors invoices for the vehicle, one showing Arlene Hache as the buyer, the other showing Norman Hache as the buyer, and the other showing them both as buyers.

Arlene Hache said after purchasing the vehicle she asked the dealership if he could provide documents for her son to insure the vehicle as she feared that she would be penalized if he was caught driving intoxicated or having to pay the parking tickets he has accumulated.

Hache said she also partnered with her son in Jerrie’s delivery services, each paying $ 5,000 to buy the business. But Hache said she only did it to help him. She said she kept the books of the business, but had no hand in its daily operations. The Axes sold the company to rival Todd Dube in the months leading up to Dube’s indictment.

Prosecutor Duane Praught suggested that Arlene Hache knew her son was using their business as a front for drug trafficking.

Praught released tapes of three phone conversations between mother and son that police made as part of their drug investigation. In one, Norman Hache tells his mother that he heard that the police had broken down the door to Todd Dube’s home and arrested him and his sister, who was helping Dube with his drug trade. Praught said it was interesting that Arlene Hache did not ask why the police raided Dube’s home.

“I’m going to suggest that you didn’t ask anything about it because you know exactly why they were arrested,” Praught said.

“You can suggest it,” replied Arlene Hache. “I say no.”

Outside the courthouse, Arlene Hache said after hearing that Dube and her sister had been arrested, she immediately thought their new business was going to ‘go to the bathroom’.

“To be in the company I worked at for a long time, you have to be fairly non-judgmental,” she said. (Hache ran a women’s shelter in Yellowknife for many years.) “I wasn’t totally without judgment, but I didn’t know … it could have been spousal assault, it could have been assault, that could have been a bunch of things. “

In his ruling, Judge Mahar said he found Arlene Hache “a credible and reliable witness”, who paid around $ 41,000 for a vehicle she had never owned.

“We are talking about an expensive vehicle that was virtually unpaid at the time it was seized,” Mahar said. He said allowing authorities to take him after Arlene Hache paid him, “would result in grave injustice to Ms. Hache.”

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