02/14/2013 11:11 EST | Updated 04/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Supreme Court allows rare oral hearing for leave to appeal drug case

OTTAWA - Lawyers for a woman in a Vancouver drug case will get a rare chance to present oral arguments as to why the Supreme Court of Canada should hear her appeal.

In an unusual move on Thursday, the court said it would hear the matter next month.

The court normally decides leave-to-appeal applications based on written documents.

The case involves a woman who was arrested at Vancouver airport in 2008 after a kilogram of methamphetamines was found hidden in a suitcase.

Jennifer Nagle had been pulled aside for a random screening by a border officer who questioned her about her travel plans and searched her purse before turning to the luggage.

The judge at her 2011 trial found that the officer should have advised Nagle of her rights before questioning her.

"She was not advised of these rights until after she had given incriminating answers that led to the formation of reasonable suspicion," the judge said.

The judge described the questioning and the purse search as "a trolling expedition" which ignored her charter rights.

The drug evidence was excluded from the trial and Nagle was acquitted.

Last September, the British Columbia Court of Appeal overturned that ruling and ordered a new trial, a decision Nagle wants to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The appeal justices said the trial judge was wrong to say the purse search by the border services officer violated Nagle's rights.

"With the information at hand, it was reasonable for him to detain her and for her luggage to be searched. The evidence to support that detention and the search and the evidence found as a result of the search was admissible."

While there is some expectation of privacy at a border crossing, "no constitutional right to be free from the search of bags, purses, luggage or a pat down exists when one decides to cross a border."