Nov 06, 2013

By Jane Brown

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After his stunning admission of crack cocaine use, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford may get a chance to see the video that appears to show him smoking crack cocaine.  A lawyer for a man photographed with Ford outside 15 Windsor Drive in Etobicoke, reportedly associated with the video, says he’s going to court on Friday to seek copies of two video files related to the Mayor.  Toronto Police Chief Blair said the videos were on hard drives that were seized in June during a gangs and guns investigation called Project Traveller that led to charges against Mohammad Khattak.  Lawyer Daniel Brown argues the video files are “relevant disclosure” which may assist Khattak in defending himself on the charges he faces.  And Brown says that if Ford “truly wishes to see himself on that video,” he can join the application.

Mayor Ford made the surprise announcement yesterday that he smoked crack about a year ago, an admission that has made headlines around the world and has provided ongoing material for late night comics.  Earlier in the day, the Mayor’s news was splashed across major news websites abroad, including CNN and BBC.  Several U.S. networks also carried Rob Ford’s second, late afternoon apology live.

So now that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to smoking crack cocaine, lawyers disagree whether his statement puts Ford in legal peril.   Defense lawyer Leora Shemesh says it’s not an offence to have used a drug in the past, it’s an offence to possess it.  Defence lawyer Sean Robichaud agrees, writing on his blog, “Mr. Ford’s admission really places him in no practical legal jeopardy.”  But defence lawyer Daniel Brown says a confession about a crime committed in the past is prosecutable, and it can be used in criminal court.  A Crown attorney, who asked not to be named, agreed that technically Ford could be charged, but police would need to establish the jurisdiction and date of the offence.

Rob Ford’s  admission yesterday appears to have come without much forethought.  Robyn Doolittle broke the crack smoking story in the Toronto Star this past May.  “I spoke with a member of the Mayor’s staff shortly after, and I’ve been in contact with another since, and it completely caught them off guard.” Doolittle explains,  “This was not a calculated P.R. decision.  It seems that the Mayor just surprised everybody and made this admission.”

The Mayor also said he had kept this secret from his family and his devoted brother, Councillor Doug Ford, who reportedly suggested the mayor take a break.  Rob Ford is making headlines around the world for admitting to smoking crack.  It also provided more fodder for late night talk shows, with Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jon Stewart all taking shots at the mayor in the opening segments.

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