The Langley RCMP officers who arrested Mark Marohn for animal abuse in 2008 repeatedly violated and "trampled upon" his rights, a Surrey Provincial Court judge ruled Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 11).
Judge Reginald Harris called the violations "serious" and excluded any evidence obtained when Langley RCMP officers searched Marohn's barn and home without a warrant.
However, the judge did not dismiss the charges, ruling there was enough evidence remaining to continue the trial.
Marohn and his estranged wife Carol Schoyen-Marohn are each charged with causing an animal to be in distress and failing to provide “necessaries” for an animal.
The charges were laid after an ailing and underweight former racehorse named "Buddy" was allegedly used to try and tow a car out of a ditch, a charge Marohn heatedly denied when he testified during the lengthy hearing on admissibility of evidence known as a voir dire or trial within a trial.
In declaring much of the evidence against Marohn inadmissible, Judge Harris indicated that he was particularly troubled by the conflicting statements made by Langley RCMP officers Bryn Savage and Liseanne Dumas, when they were asked to explain why they entered Marohn's home without a warrant.
Savage said it was to make sure no one else was hiding in the house, while Dumas said it was to search for the insurance papers for the car in the ditch.
"I have great difficulty with the contrasting explanations that were offered," Judge Harris said.
The decision effectively limits the prosecution case to "Buddy" and to evidence obtained without the improper searches of the barn and house.
Marohn was not present in court for the decision.
His lawyer said the former vet was rushed to a local ER for medical tests late Monday when he became dizzy.
A number of tests have been ordered, the lawyer said.
During the voir dire, Marohn testified that his health has been uncertain since he broke his spine in three places in April of 2000 during a vacation.
That, along with some serious health issues that his wife also developed, wiped them out financially, he said.
Marohn's trial is tentatively set to resume on Thursday.
Schoyen-Marohn’s trial had to be postponed because she suffered a stroke.
Her case is not scheduled to start until October of next year.