Summary from media reports: On April 28 2008, Toronto police seized 46,680 litres of wine - red and white - in vats, buckets and large plastic jugs, worth an estimated $120,000....Five weeks of surveillance led to Confira's warehouse on Dublin Street, police said....Police said the owners of the company and six store owners have been charged with unlawfully keeping, offering and selling liquor. The company could face fines of up to $500,000, while each individual could face penalties of $250,000.
Address: STATION C, PO BOX 553, Toronto, M6J 3P6
Luis Anselmo Director, Secretary 158 Lisgar St. Toronto
Mario da Conceicao Jorge President, Director 17 Prescott Ave, Toronto
Jose Rocha Director, Secretary 2441 Islington Ave, Toronto
Those three men are all Canadian residents.
11 Dublin Street is owned by J n J Investments inc. [A marble retailer, where they also cut to order.] That's the only address designated for industrial use on the street. 16 Dublin is listed as warehousing.
The court clerk at Old City Hall court has no such names on her list of court dates.
CELOS researcher called 13 Division, Toronto Police at 416?808?1319 to ask for Constable Wendy Drummond, Public Information, for Sergeant Janice Turza, 13 Division, as listed in the Monday, April 28, 2008, Police News Release
The receptionist from the community response unit did not know who P,C.Drummond is but looked it up and found out she is in the public information office. She gave the researcher P.C. Drummond's number and the researcher left a message on the officer's voicemail - 808-7090 - The other number offered on the voicemail is 808-7100.
No call back. The CELOS researcher called again on Monday, May 12, 2008. These were the officer's answers:
1. Where will the case be tried?
Answer: Provincial offences can go through the courts at different locations. P.C.Drummond was trying to think about where 13 Div cases go, and her partner said it was 1000 Finch.
2. Is this a criminal offence?
Answer: It can be civil or criminal.
3. What are the charges?
Answer: not sure. Contact the courts.
4. Under what act?
Answer: Liquor Licence Act.
5. How is an offence under that act prosecuted? Through what court? Where?
Answer: If provincial offence, at provincial courts at 1000 Finch. People can call courts and find out about the court docket.
The CELOS researcher looked up the courts and found out that 1000 Finch is a criminal court.
A CELOS researcher called the number 416-326-0330 for Liquor Inspections and Enforcement at the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to see whether the illegal manufacturing and distribution of wine would come under its jurisdiction. The woman CELOS spoke to said the AGCO only deals with liquor licenses. She said the kind of charges mentioned in the article would be handled by the Provincial Offences Court.
A CELOS researcher sent an email to the Provincial Offences Court asking if it would handle the kind of charges mentioned in the article.
The POA court replied saying these charges would be handled by a criminal court.
CELOS researcher Matt Leitold contacted the Toronto West Court Office at 2700 Eglinton Avenue West. The court clerk could only find one of the officers of the company, Luis Anselmo, in the database. Anselmo is scheduled for trial on February 11, 2009 in courtroom W7.
Two men appeared, Luis Anselmo and Mario George. The lawyer and the Crown had been talking before the judge came in. The lawyer asked the judge if he could put Mr.Anselmo's charges together with the corporation's charges. The judge said that was very irregular. he asked the lawyer why he hadn't suggested that before, and the lawyer giggled and said he wasn't sure. But he said that the Crown had agreed to doing this. The judge said that didn't matter, he didn't agree. The lawyer said, in that case they wouldn't be able to proceed. So the case was postponed until March 19.
There were only three other people in the court, who were talking to each other in a friendly way and may have been police.
3pm courtroom W7, Toronto West Court Office Luis Anselmo's name is on the docket posted outside the courtroom. When the courtroom door opens, people line up to talk to duty counsel (a lawyer paid by the provincial government to offer on-the-spot legal guidance to people who come to court without a lawyer). Two Confira directors, Luis Anselmo and Mario George, are in court.
After the justice of the peace arrives and the court session starts, the Crown attorney, Mr. Leacock, stands up and addresses the court. He tells the JP he anticipates that Confira will plead guilty to two charges and that all other charges will be withdrawn.
The JP asks the court clerk to arraign the defendants. The clerk stands up and reads out the charges: on March 21, 2008 Confira unlawfully kept liquor for sale at 11 Dublin Street and produced wine without a licence contrary to the Liquor Licence Act. When the clerk finishes Leacock tells the court that police discovered 46,000 litres of illegel wine on the premises. The defence lawyer says the facts are "substantially correct."
The defence and the Crown make a "joint submission" on sentencing. Confira will agree to pay $3000 on each of the charges. The JP asks the defence how much time the defendants will need to pay the $6000 total. The defence says six months. The Crown then withdraws all the charges laid against Luis Anselmo and Mario George.
When Leacock leaves the courtroom I approach him to make sure I understood what happened in court. I tell him I work for a community group. After he confirms that the defendants agreed to paid $6000 total in fines, I ask if this is the end of the case. He says it's the end provided they don't do it again. Then he asks me what I "as a representative of the community" think. I say I don't know what to think and ask "How seriously does the Crown take these kinds of offences?" Leacock says the Crown does take them seriously, but in this case there were problems with the investigation.