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Notice to the Profession & Public - High Potency Narcotics Protocol

Mar 13, 2018

The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta adopts the following High Potency Narcotics procedures in all Queen’s Bench criminal proceedings effective immediately.

Purpose:
To take all reasonable steps to protect court personnel and users of court facilities from exposure  to high potency narcotics by avoiding, whenever possible, the entry into court proceedings of  exhibit evidence that contains or may contain, or may have come into contact with high potency  narcotics, including fentanyl, carfentanil or similar toxic or dangerous substances (“HPN  Exhibits”).

Practice Direction:
In any proceeding where a party intends to introduce evidence that contains or may contain, or may  have come into contact with high potency narcotics (HPN) including fentanyl, carfentanil, or  similar toxic or dangerous substances, then:

  1. Before the start date of the proceedings in which the HPN exhibit evidence is to be introduced,  the party proposing to introduce that evidence shall contact all other parties and:

    - endeavour to obtain their agreement to admit, for the purposes of the particular proceeding, that the HPN evidence contains the substance or substances alleged; or,

    - endeavour to obtain their agreement, for the purposes of the particular proceeding, to the  introduction of any proposed HPN evidence through statement of fact, expert report, photographs,  and/or certificate of analysis.
  1. Where no agreement is reached under 1 above, the party proposing to introduce the HPN evidence or an HPN exhibit shall, no later than 7 days before the start of the proceeding, bring an application before the Court to obtain leave of the Court to admit the HPN exhibit or exhibits into evidence at the proceeding.
  2. In the event that the Court grants leave to admit HPN Exhibits into evidence, the HPN Exhibits shall be brought to the courthouse double bagged, sealed, and clearly labelled in accordance with policies established by Resolution and Court Administration Services, which may be amended from time to time, to ensure the safety of all court participants.
  3. The court clerk shall notify the court manager in the event that the HPN Exhibits are admitted into evidence.
This Notice to the Profession and Public is consistent with the Provincial Court of Alberta's Practice Direction 2018-ACC-01 issued effective March 1, 2018.