Ontario Criminal


Charter of Rights

Arbitrary detention or imprisonment
Cumulative effect of officer’s observations amounted to reasonable and probable grounds

Accused was convicted of possession of 48 pounds of marijuana for purpose of trafficking. Accused was driver of vehicle that was pulled over by police officer on highway. In cardboard box in cargo area of vehicle, police located several bags of packaged marijuana. Genesis of traffic stop was report from another police officer about unsafe driving and observations by arresting officer who followed vehicle for several kilometers. Both occupants seemed nervous. Accused kept looking back towards two large black suitcases in rear of vehicle. There were several cell phones on console. Officer detected strong smell of raw marijuana from vehicle. As he walked by vehicle to return to his cruiser, officer noticed cardboard box with Ziploc bags protruding from it containing material of shape and size of marijuana. Officer returned to vehicle driven by accused and arrested accused and her passenger. Accused was convicted of possession of marijuana for purposes of trafficking. Accused appealed her conviction. Appeal dismissed. Traffic stop and demand for documentation was fully justified under s. 216(1) of Highway Traffic Act (Ont.). Trial judge made no error in concluding that investigating officer had reasonable and probable grounds to arrest accused for possession of marijuana. Cumulative effect of officer’s observations amounted to reasonable and probable grounds to arrest accused. It followed that search of vehicle incident to lawful arrest and carried out in reasonable manner was constitutionally valid.

R. v. Pham (Apr. 7, 2016, Ont. C.A., David Watt J.A., Gloria Epstein J.A., and M. Tulloch J.A., CA C59824) 129 W.C.B. (2d) 325.

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