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Kelowna reporter under investigation for undercover drug buy that led to police raid

July 30, 2012

Castanet reporter Kelly Hayes has some serious cojones. But it seems the RCMP thinks they may be a little too big. (Castanet is an established Kelowna news website)

Hayes made an undercover drug buy, filmed the deal, turned the evidence over to the cops, and is now apparently being investigated by the RCMP for his actions.

Earlier this month, a Kelowna resident contacted Hayes to complain about the constant traffic and relentless noise at the apartment unit above her. She took video and, convinced her neighbour was a drug deal, spoke to the RCMP. She was told she didn’t have proof, so she then went to Castanet, which showed a hell of a lot more initiative. Here’s Hayes’s story.

He went undercover as a pothead, bot $40 worth of weed, then turned the whole thing, plus the video evidence, over to the cops. Hours later, police raided the unit.

The RCMP said they were already monitoring the house. Castanet news director Trevor Rockliffe said Hayes was being monitored during the transaction to ensure his safety.

From the story:

“Kelly told the RCMP and we waited a couple of weeks for something to happen, when nothing was being done we shot the video.”

The news director says he prefers his team to report the news and not be the news, but sometimes you have to do what you can to help people.

“Our concern is for the neighbour who brought the complaint to us. She is at risk, and she knows it.  She was put at risk by the city when they tried to send a letter to her stating they were looking into the drug situation at the property. The letter never reached her, it was addressed to the dealers upstairs. Something had to be done.”


Three people are facing charges, but the RCMP say they are also investigating Hayes’s actions. They told Castanet:

“We are considering the totality of the circumstances including the quantity of drugs and the intent of the transaction on his part. We are continuing to consult with Crown Counsel.”

The RCMP spokesperson said the force doesn’t condone the actions and that Hayes “committed a criminal offence” (which could be a legally risky thing to say).

Hayes told the Vancouver Sun that he’s upset that he could face charges.

“I was pissed,” Hayes said, saying it was the RCMP’s idea that Stein go public with the story. The Kelowna RCMP did not make anyone available on Sunday to discuss the case.


This isn’t the first video shot by Hayes to lead to criminal charges—but the last time it happened, it was a Mountie who ended up in court. (The Mountie was recently acquitted on one assault charge but still faces the count linked to Hayes’s video.)

If I was Hayes I wouldn’t be too worried. The fact that the RCMP officer is speaking about “the intent of the transaction” seems designed to give the cops and Crown counsel the ability to not lay charges. It’s understandable that they want to discourage people from orchestrating their own undercover drug buys. So they’ll likely huff and they’ll puff and in the end no charges will be laid. At least I’d assume that’s what will happen. Still, I can understand Kelly’s concern. He did, after all, buy $40 worth of pot, on camera.

  1. July 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I’m guessing the reason cops are even considering charging Hayes isn’t because of the pot but instead because they’re still pissed at him for filming one of their own booting an innocent person in the face.

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