A Nova Scotia judge said searches of homes belonging to three sisters accused of a $ 3.6 million tax scheme were routine.
The accused are Georgette Young, Angela MacDonald and Nadia Saker, as well as their mother, Lydia Saker.
The women pleaded not guilty to 30 combined counts, including fraud. They represent themselves as the trial continues this week in the Supreme Court in Sydney.
The sisters claimed that they had been the subject of a Charter violation because of what they considered to be unreasonable house searches. As part of a court application, the women testified alongside their mother and Young’s husband.
CRA investigators testify
The Crown also called several Canada Revenue Agency investigators who carried out the searches in November 2017.
In a written decision released late Monday afternoon, Judge Robin Gogan ruled that she was not persuaded the CRA’s conduct was unreasonable.
In the 50-page document, Gogan responded to every search to prove that the women were involved in what the CRA says was an elaborate tax evasion scheme involving multiple companies under their name.
“I accept that the experience was shocking, traumatic and invasive for each of the candidates,” Gogan wrote.
“I conclude, in each case, that this state of mind probably had an impact on this perception of events.”
Gogan also said she found that routine searches were being carried out, following an “established protocol and recorded in notes and photographs.”
Angela MacDonald said she felt her life was in danger after a police officer grabbed a gun when she tripped and lost her balance.
MacDonald’s testimony about this incident was rejected by Gogan along with the claim that MacDonald’s husband was chased and brought back to their home.
Meanwhile, Young claimed she was physically assaulted after being hit by a door and urinated in her pants while trying to keep investigators out.
Gogan said pieces of Young’s testimony seemed “inherently irrational” and “highly implausible.”
“She was a hazy witness who was at times argumentative and evasive,” Gogan wrote.
“She was also dramatic and seemed to enjoy repeating the most sensational aspects of her testimony.”
On Tuesday, the court is expected to hear arguments on another claim filed by the women regarding whether their tax audits and criminal investigations were conducted properly.