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Charges Dismissed Against FedEx in Nfld Wine Shipping Case

Charges against FedEx for shipping BC wine to Newfoundland were dismissed today by a court in St. John\’s. The charges had originally been laid against FedEx as a result of a shipment of BC wine to that province last year. FedEx\’s lawyer argued that there was no case against FedEx because: a) the federally regulated courier company was not subject to provincial liquor restrictions, and b) there was evidence that the Newfoundland liquor board had set up the case by having the wife of a liquor corporation executive order the wine in question. The prosecutor agreed that there was no case. The judge dismissed the charges before FedEx\’s counsel had an opportunity to make any constitutional arguments. FedEx\’s lawyer has asked that the Newfoundland liquor corporation pay FedEx\’s legal fees in the case (a decision on the costs issue will not be made until late September). See CBC report here: FedEx Accuses NLC of Set-up to Protect Wine Monopoly and this longer report from the St. John\’s Telegram: FedEx Contraband Wine Case Uncorked. Following the decision, FedEx Canada issued a series of tweets indicating that it believes that all Canadian provinces should remove interprovincial shipping restrictions. This case is interesting because FedEx argued that, because it is a federally regulated business, it was not subject to provincial laws affecting interprovincial transport. It appears that the Crown accepted that there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction, at least partly due to this. If this argument is correct, then provincial governments and liquor authorities would not be able to prevent couriers from transporting interprovincial shipments of wine or other alcohol. Unfortunately, there was no definitive ruling on this question … but there appears to have been no real arguments made against FedEx\’s position.

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