UPDATE: Kentville tobacco shop Charter case underway

Nancy
Nancy Kelly
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Bob Gee, right, pictured with his son Jeff, will have his day in court Dec. 4. - Jennifer Hoegg

By Nancy Kelly

nkelly@kingscountynews.ca

Despite an effort by the Nova Scotia Crown Prosecutor’s office to seek another delay in Bob Gee’s constitutional challenge, the Kentville businessman’s trial got underway Dec. 4 at the Kentville courthouse.

Gee, charged with improper storage of tobacco products at his Mader’s Tobacco Store in Kentville in 2008, is challenging the province’s tobacco access regulations under the Canadian Charter of Right’s freedom of expression provisions. Since Gee was granted permission to make the challenge, the Crown has successfully argued for several postponements.

After her consideration of what she called a “convoluted argument” for adjournment based on the rules of receiving expert testimony, Justice Claudine MacDonald ruled against prosecutor Ed Gore.

“The case law is clear and I find there has been no breach.  I am not prepared to set this matter over to another date,” MacDonald said.

Witness testimony began in the afternoon with Gore questioning provincial tobacco inspector Daniel Manette and Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Robert Strang.

A former president of Smoke Free Nova Scotia, Strang defended the province’s rules for tobacco display.

“Tobacco is a very addictive product and significant government oversight, including point of sale displays, is needed to minimize the use of tobacco products.”

The trial continues Wednesday. The Crown plans to question a witness with expertise on the marketing of tobacco products.

 

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Bob Gee finally has his day in court.

The Kentville tobacco retailer was charged with illegal storage and display of tobacco products at his business, Mader's Tobacco, three years ago. In late 2010, Gee was granted the right to argue province’s regulations on tobacco displays and storage violate his right to freedom of expression.

There have been a number of delays in the case and Crown prosecutor Edward Gores spent most of the morning Dec. 4 making another request for adjournment. He asked for a delay because Gee’s lawyer had not provided a report or outline of the evidence expected from an expert witness on marketing to the Crown.

Justice Claudine MacDonald dismissed the request and witness testimony is expected to proceed this afternoon in Kentville provincial court. Three days have been set aside for the hearing. 

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  • lynda d
    December 07, 2012 - 21:38

    I have yet to see how they can say that the smoking rate has been reduced. There is no way to tabulate illegal and untaxed smokers; therefore there is no way to say that the smoking rate has decreased when you don't know exactly how much the gov't isn't getting in taxes (which this number is based upon). Every smoker who smokes provincially un-taxed cigarettes is not in the 20% of the population that smokes statistic. This is a prime example of dogma (not reality) hurting a charity, and why I won't donate to such non government organizations (NGO).

  • Christina Swetnam
    December 06, 2012 - 23:05

    Maders Store is not a registered tobacco store..he is infact a registered convience store. Should he win his case then convience stores and gas stations in Nova Scotia could be able to display shelves of tobacco products known as power walls once again.

  • Shelley
    December 04, 2012 - 22:44

    I hope they win. I think there is too much government regulation, I think adults should be able to choose whether they smoke or not. There store is completely a tobacco store where adults go to buy cigarettes and they should be able to display what they are selling. I don't think many businesses of any type would survive if they were not allowed to display their products. I feel a little more iffy about this when cigarettes are displayed in local corner stores which minors may frequent but in this case with not being allowed to sell tobacco to anyone under 19 their customers would all be adults and I think the government needs to their noses out of it. I see them as being no different than a liquer store both cater to adults and both are selling something to them which may not be the best for them health wise yet liquor stores can display their merchandise. I say the rules which apply to liquor stores should be the same that apply to them, which is just don't sell to minors.

  • Hope they lose
    December 04, 2012 - 16:43

    Tabacco kills,it's a personal matter to everyone...like alcohol..exposing our children to it ,is like telling them to play in the traffic.........The charter protects ALL Canadians including what can be expressed to others........promotinga product that kills and is a drain on our health system ie rediculous.

    • Hope you win Bob
      December 05, 2012 - 09:21

      I'm a non-smoker, know Bob Gee(he is a stand-up guy) and totally agree with him. Not sure if you know the details, Hope They Lose, of the case. Bob owns a TOBACCO store. Minors should not be in a TOBACCO store anymore than they should be in a liquor store. Sure they shouldn't be displayed in gas stations and other stores but minors have no business being in a tobacco store to begin with. I use to smoke and always said if it's that draining on our health system BAN IT. See how that works and maybe then you can get recover those taxation dollars by say taxing the junk food that is causing the widespread obesity in all, including children.