TORONTO – Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s friend Alexander (Sandro) Lisi was found not guilty on drug-related charges Friday after a judge attacked the credibility of an undercover officer who was key to the case.
Lisi’s co-accused – Jamshid (Jay) Bahrami – was also found not guilty. Both men had been charged with trafficking cannabis.
READ MORE: Closing submissions today at Lisi drug trial
Lisi, 36, was also charged with possession of a small quantity of marijuana and possession of the proceeds of crime, while Bahrami was charged with cocaine possession.
Lisi had $900 in marked police money when he was arrested – allegedly from an undercover officer’s purchase of 220 grams of pot in Bahrami’s dry cleaning store.
Justice Ramez Khawly said the Crown had been unable to prove the entire case beyond a reasonable doubt and emphasized his issues with the undercover officer’s testimony.
“I kept looking for areas where eventually the undercover officer would shore up his credibility. It proved to be a fruitless exercise,” said Khawly. “The long and short of it is that on all material points, I simply cannot rely on his evidence.”
Lisi and Bahrami were arrested after a months-long police investigation that involved surveillance by officers, electronic tracking, aerial spotting and a camera mounted on a street pole.
Court heard that police began watching Lisi in June 2013 because they believed he had swapped drugs for the return of Ford’s cellphone earlier that year – a situation noted by Khawly in his ruling.
“It would be naive to suggest Lisi was investigated in a vacuum. The connection to the mayor of Toronto loomed large,” he said.
Lisi also faces separate charges of extortion related to trying to retrieve the infamous Ford “crack video.”
He has yet to stand trial in that case.