Courts

Trial begins for two men accused of trafficking drugs in Halifax

Nicholas Gaetz, Christopher Hill appear in Nova Scotia Supreme Court for three-day trial

Gaetz and Hill are scheduled to sit before Justice Cacchione on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.   Trent Erickson

Nicholas Daniel Gaetz and Christopher Hill appeared in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Wednesday after 265 grams of cocaine and other drugs were found in the trunk of a car they were in.

The pair are co-accused in this trial, which is set to take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week. Justice Felix Cacchione is presiding over the case.

The court heard Wednesday that on Nov. 14, 2016, at 3:15 a.m., Const. Brent Woodworth, Const. Mark Maxwell and Const. Cody MacEwan of Halifax Regional Police pulled over a blue Honda Civic on Quinpool Road. They saw the car turn right, without signalling, before running a red light.

Woodworth testified he was conducting the traffic stop and smelled “fresh marijuana” coming from the vehicle. The five occupants were then taken out of the car, arrested and searched by the officers. Only one of the occupants, who was underage, had drugs — a small amount of cannabis and cannabis resin — on them.

The rest of the drugs were found in a GoodLife bag in the car’s trunk. On top of the 265 grams of cocaine, police found 12 MDMA tablets, 5 ½ Xanax tablets and a digital scale. The scale was later found to have traces of cocaine and THC on it. Also in the GoodLife bag was a phone which was later claimed by the underaged, cannabis-carrying occupant.

When Gaetz was searched, police found $400 and two cellphones in his pocket.

Nothing suspicious was found on Hill, who is being represented by Trevor McGuigan. 

Much of Wednesday’s trial was spent debating whether a conversation that was unintentionally overheard could be submitted as evidence. All three officers testified that Gaetz and the underaged member of the group spoke to each other while sitting on the curb in handcuffs.

While exact wording between the two men varied from account to account, Woodworth said the underaged occupant was visibly nervous and told Gaetz, “just tell them it’s yours. You’re going to ruin my life.”

The officers allege that Gaetz replied “nobody talks and everybody walks.” 

This exchange was not recorded in any of the three officers’ logs that night.

This record gap was highlighted by Gaetz’s defence attorney, Brian Warcop. Warcop said that officers have a duty to take “accurate, detailed, comprehensive notes as soon as possible after an arrest.” The officers agreed, but said that lapses sometimes happen.

Justice Cacchione allowed the exchange to be entered as evidence, saying it “appears relevant to the trial.”

The trial is scheduled to continue on Thursday and Friday.

Gaetz has previously been convicted in two stabbings. In 2014, he stabbed someone at a Canada Day celebration in Dartmouth. In 2015, he stabbed someone with pliers while out on bail for the first stabbing.