Officer may have been over-enthusiastic but did not act in bad faith

Ontario criminal | Charter of Rights

ARBITRARY DETENTION OR IMPRISONMENT

Officer may have been over-enthusiastic but did not act in bad faith

Accused were charged with trafficking in cocaine and methamphetamine and argued that their Charter ss. 8, 9 and 10 rights were breached and that evidence be excluded. Police officer observed two vehicles pull up beside each other in mall parking lot after midnight with windows open. Officer was suspicious and went over to question occupants. Officer called for backup after occupants appeared jumpy. One officer observed plastic baggie partially exposed under one person and further investigation revealed it to be cocaine. Subsequent searches of vehicle and cellphones revealed more drugs and message regarding meeting place. Officer testified that he had two other drug transactions earlier that same day which prompted his suspicions. Officer also did not give accused s. 10 Charter rights and accused made further statements. Charter breaches found, evidence admitted. Court concluded that accused were arbitrarily detained as officer only had suspicion which was not reasonable to detain accused. Subsequent searches of vehicle were pursuant to initial Charter breach. Evidence was not excluded however as officer may have been over-enthusiastic but he did not act in bad faith. Accused did not satisfy onus that administration of justice would not be placed in disrepute as society had strong interest of adjudicating this case on its merits.

R. v. Munro (Jan. 4, 2012, Ont. S.C.J., Gray J., File No. CR-11-024) 99 W.C.B. (2d) 847 (20 pp.).

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