Ontario Criminal


Charter of Rights

RIGHT TO FAIR TRIAL
Police used force only when accused fled from them

Trial of accused on charges of breaking and entering, possession of property obtained by crime, possession of burglar’s tools, mischief and failing to comply with probation. Accused was inside of house without permission. As he left house by rear sliding door in dark police officer in neighbouring yard yelled at him to stop as he was under arrest. Accused ran away and he was tackled to ground and was handcuffed. He claimed that after he was tackled he was immediately compliant but all of his injuries were caused by police after he was tackled. Accused sought stay of proceedings, based on alleged violations of ss. 7 and 12 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Alternatively, if stay was not granted, he asked that sentence that would otherwise be warranted should be reduced to reflect use of force against him. Application dismissed. Officers, who were credible, were faced with dynamic situation in which they dealt with accused who actively resisted arrest and who was potentially armed. Accused was large and strong man and it took two officers to subdue him. Officers were justified in using force to arrest accused and force that was used was not excessive. After accused was arrested officers responded to his needs. There was no breach of accused’s Charter rights under ss. 7 and 12 that jeopardized perception of trial fairness or that would bring integrity of law enforcement into disrepute. Stay was not appropriate. Sentence would not be reduced because police used force only when accused fled from them and actively resisted arrest.

R. v. Douglas (Jan. 15, 2014, Ont. S.C.J., Dunnet J., File No. CR-13-30000 189-0000) 111 W.C.B. (2d) 186.

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