Ontario Criminal

Charter of Rights

Arbitrary detention or imprisonment
Reasonable suspicion may be grounded in constellation of factors

Accused was detained by police in front of his residence for investigation of trespass and liquor-related provincial offences. Altercation ensued in which accused shoved and kicked officers and ran into residence. Police arrested accused and subsequent search of his backpack revealed handgun. At trial, accused alleged numerous infringements of his Charter rights and brought application to exclude from evidence handgun and for stay of proceedings. Trial judge dismissed application. Among other things, trial judge found that accused had been lawfully detained for brief investigation for offences under Trespass to Property Act (Ont.), and Liquor Licence Act (Ont.). Accused was convicted of various firearms and weapons offences and of assaulting police. Trial judge had found police had grounds to detain accused based upon manner in which accused had turned to first available doorway and urgently tried to gain entry by turning door handle and knocking, accused did not have key to unit that he was trying to enter, accused was carrying partially consumed bottle of liquor, smelled of alcohol, and had blood shot eyes such that it could be inferred that he had been drinking in courtyard, accused’s very nervous demeanour, including trembling hand when he produced his health card and his manner of standing with his backpack up against wall, and complaint from property manager that there were trespassers in courtyard area, particularly during evenings after 8:00 p.m., and that someone appeared to be letting them in. Accused appealed his convictions. Appeal dismissed. Actions noted may have been lawful and each of facts, if considered in isolation, may have been insufficient. However, when totality of facts was viewed together, they were capable of grounding reasonable suspicion that accused may be engaged in trespass or liquor-related offences. Reasonable suspicion may be grounded in constellation of factors, even if any one of those factors on its own would not have been sufficient.

R. v. Darteh (Feb. 22, 2016, Ont. C.A., Doherty J.A., E.A. Cronk J.A., and H.S. LaForme J.A., CA C59386) Decision at 112 W.C.B. (2d) 325 was affirmed. 128 W.C.B. (2d) 558.

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