Case Law
There is no need to establish a causal connection between a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and the death of a third party resulting from an accident on charge under s. 255(3.1) of the Criminal Code.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has found a safety search conducted incidental to an investigative detention permitted the police to search a trunk when officers responded to a man with a gun report.
A safety search of an assault arrestee’s bag was justified even though there was no information he possessed a weapon and was handcuffed at the time the search took place. In R. v. Aviles, 2017 ONCA 629, the police responded to a report of an assault occurring at a Mac’s Milk convenience store. The victim told police he knew one of the attackers by name. The other two attackers were a dark skin man wearing baggy hip-hop style clothing and a woman. The victim said he had lost a shoe during the assault and police found it in a nearby alley. Then, while talking with the police, the victim pointed through the convenience store window to three people approaching, a woman and two men, and identified them as his attackers. One of the men was the individual the victim had identified by name. The other man was Walter Aviles. He was wearing a black pea coat, black jogging pants, brown boots and a black baseball cap.
Every detail of an informer’s tip does not need to be verified by independent investigation before it rises to the level of reasonable grounds for arrest. In R. v. Dunkley, 2017 ONCA 600, the police were surveilling a suspected cocaine dealer’s residence when they saw Orlando Dunkley, a slim black male about six feet tall with a dark jacket, park a silver Honda Accord on the street near the house at about 9:05 p.m.
Although a co-resident cannot waive the constitutional rights of another, living with someone else can impact the expectations of privacy and may allow for valid consent to enter by one of the occupants.
In R. v. Pearson, 2017 ONCA 389, a man was killed after being shot in the back with a shotgun. The following day a police officer stopped Damian Pearson driving his car, concerned about impaired driving, given the manner in which the car was being operated. When he approached the driver’s side of the car, the officer noticed unusual redness in Pearson’s eyes. His pupils were dilated and the officer smelled burnt marijuana. Pearson was slow in retrieving his papers and failed field sobriety tests. The officer arrested Pearson for impaired driving and he searched the vehicle, seizing two shotgun shells in a knapsack in the trunk.
A three-member panel of Ontario’s Divisional Court has found police conduct amounted to racial profiling and it nearly tripled the damages that had been awarded at trial.
Ontario’s top court has thrown out a marijuana grow-op that police found in a man’s home after they entered it to check on his parenting.
A Saskatchewan judge has thrown out a two-foot-long machete as evidence because a police officer failed to articulate the need for a safety search.
Exigent circumstances are more about urgency than about police convenience,’ Canada’s top court has said. In R. v. Paterson, 2017 SCC 15, the police responded to a dropped 911 call from a cellphone. A woman was crying and apparently injured. The cellphone belonged to the caller’s mother and she was contacted. The mother told police that she thought her daughter was with her boyfriend, Paterson, who lived in a nearby apartment. The mother also said he had a shotgun. The police went to the apartment building and learned that the daughter had been transported by ambulance to the hospital with unknown injuries. The police knocked several times at Paterson’s apartment and announced “police,” and the door was eventually opened.
A man who sent email messages to an undercover police officer posing as a 14-yearold girl did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the messages received by the officer.

BC’s highest court has ruled that the police may ask a detainee narrowly tailored safety questions in the course of a protective search incidental to an investigative detention.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld more than $400,000 in damages awarded to a woman because the police failed to protect her confidentiality after she provided information to them.
Police had a duty to enter an apartment to check on its occupant’s safety during a domestic abuse call.
Harbouring a suspicion of illegal activity did not render a legitimate traffic stop unlawful, Alberta’s highest court found.
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