Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pole busted with heroin in Vancouver successfully blames son

A mother who blamed her son for her troubles has been acquitted by a jury of smuggling two kilograms of heroin into the Vancouver airport in gifts wrapped for Christmas.

Krystyna Raczkowska, 52, was arrested after she and her 29-year-old son, Wiktor Raczkowski, returned home Dec. 24, 2006, after a short trip to Poland to visit relatives.

The jury heard from Crown witnesses the mother was seen tugging her clothing, crossing her arms and talking continuously as she waited to pick up her luggage.

A search revealed drugs with an estimated street value of $400,000 concealed at the base of two ceramic pots wrapped as presents and carried in the mother's suitcase.

Raczkowska was charged with possession of heroin for the purpose of trafficking and importing heroin into Canada.

Crown counsel Edlyn Laurie told a B.C. Supreme Court jury in Vancouver the mother had full knowledge of the drugs in her possession and was therefore guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

But Raczkowska testified that the evening before they left Warsaw there was "lots of commotion" in the house and presents were being wrapped and placed in suitcases.

"She testified that when she was told she had narcotics in the suitcase she was surprised and confused," said B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Kristi Gill in her charge to the jury Wednesday.

"She denied being aware that narcotics were in her suitcase . . . and at the conclusion of her evidence she told you that she blamed her son."

Jacqueline Perciival, her lawyer, told the jury the son had "arranged" for the drug transaction and "that he used his mother," noted the judge.

Raczkowski was arrested and charged with the same offences as his mother but the Crown stayed the charges.

Both mother and son had prior criminal records.

The judge instructed the jury that Raczkowska's convictions for possession of narcotics and possession of property obtained for crime could be used only to determine her credibility, not her guilt.

The verdict came after a four-day trial and a little more than a day of deliberations by the jury.