A man whose case involved allegations that an Abbotsford Police officer stuffed money into his sock during a search of the man’s home has been acquitted of seven of the eight drug charges he faced.
Brian Vincent MacDonald, 53, was found not guilty Friday in Abbotsford provincial court of seven charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking in substances that included fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin, cocaine and meth.
MacDonald was convicted of one charge – possession of a controlled substance – and sentenced to time already served. Court records indicate he has been in prison since January of this year.
MacDonald was charged in December 2017 after a bust by the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) on Nov. 23, 2017 resulted in the seizure of two kilograms of drugs, $46,000 in cash, and weapons from a home, storage lockers and three vehicles.
It was revealed during MacDonald’s trial that there were hidden cameras in his bedroom that captured police activity during a search on Nov. 23, 2017.
The footage later showed what appeared to be an officer stuffing cash found in the bedroom into his sock.
Court documents indicate that the officer testified in court that he had put the money in his sock as part of a practical joke.
The officer said he had intended to pull out the money and present it to another officer as “the real jackpot,” the documents state.
He said he changed his mind about the joke and that he left the money in the home, but he couldn’t remember where or when.
MacDonald applied to have his charges stayed on the basis that the officer had stolen the money and that it was an “abuse of process” and an “egregious breach of trust.”
But a judge ruled in June of this year that the charges would not be thrown out, saying that even if she were to believe that the money had been stolen, she did not feel it would affect the case against MacDonald because evidence from that search was not being used in court.
Two other men were charged in relation to the same bust as MacDonald.
Jason Clifford Richardson, 45 – charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking – is scheduled to go on trial this week, according to court records.
Bryan David Howell, 36, was charged with four counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and his trial is set to begin April 9, 2019.
The officer caught on video is still under investigation by the RCMP, and no charges have been laid. He remains on administrative duty.