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Did cop botch raid?

Defence says officer who obtained warrant did not supervise search

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jun 01/01) - Lothar Ebke's extradition hearing wrapped up Thursday amid allegations the RCMP officer who was supposed to be in charge of the search of Lothar Ebke's home may have erred by not being present while the home was searched.

Cpl. Sue Munn was the officer who obtained the authorization to search Ebke's home last year.

Evidence seeps out

Cpl. Susan Munn testified Wednesday that items seized in last year's search of Lothar Ebke's home "jumped out" in her mind as evidence that the Yellowknife entrepreneur might have been a terrorist.

It's a tantalizing first glimpse into items that might to link Ebke to the Revolutionary Cells, a radical left-wing group active in Germany during the 1980s.

One of the items seized was a German magazine that had the Revolutionary Cells' symbol on the cover.

Boxes containing carousels of slides were found in one closet. One box was labelled "Tarek and Barbara." Much of the German evidence against Ebke comes from Tarek Mousli, a former member of the cells who turned informant. Mousli had a relationship with a woman named Barbara for a period of time.

In one photo album, an empty space for a photo was found. It was, said Munn, "the only (space in the photo album) with no photo." Underneath the empty panel was the caption, "Lothar in August 1996 on his trip with Axel."

According to Munn, Mousli identified one Axel Hogg as "a leader of the Revolutionary Cells."

Vertes sites earlier verdict

Mr. Justice John Vertes noted that he knew of a case dating back to 1971 involving the Rex Cafe. According to the judge, the cafe was raided on suspicion of being a gaming house. However, the officer who obtained the authority for the search was not the officer who searched the premises. A judge quashed the warrant.

Territorial Supreme Court has heard that Munn was the officer who arrested Ebke at 10:35 p.m. She then read him his legal rights, informed him about the search warrant and read it to him, then left the scene until about 1:05 a.m.

Another officer, Sgt. James Hardy, was in charge of the on-site search team. Hardy's role in the search had been arranged earlier during a planning session that included him, Munn, and RCMP G Division Commander Staff Sgt. Dave Grundy.

According to defence lawyers Adrian Wright and Wes Wilson, Munn was required to be present at the house while the search was taking place.

Crown Attorney Wes Smart, acting on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, told Mr. Justice John Vertes that, "If the officer named (in the warrant) is not the one who executed the search ... it is not a substantive problem."

As he was completing his submission, Wilson also told Vertes he took the position that Munn "actually misled you."

Earlier in the hearing, Mr. Justice John Vertes told court, "the case law is very clear," and that Munn's absence during the search was "not merely a defect of form, but of substance."

Ebke was arrested almost 13 months ago at the bed and breakfast he and his partner Regina Pfeifer operate. He is wanted by German authorities on suspicion of taking part in terrorist acts during the 1980s.

Germany claims he was a member of the Revolutionary Cells, a radical left-wing organization linked to a series of shootings and bombings.

Ebke, dressed in a blue jacket and trousers, left court during the lunch break Thursday, said he was, "glad" the hearing was over.

"I feel confident," he added.

Previously, Vertes indicated that he would rule on Wilson's motion to stay proceedings after submissions had been completed. Now, he says he will rule on the motion to stay July 19. He will also rule on whether there are grounds to extradite Ebke and whether to send the seized items to German authorities.