Ontario Criminal

Charter of Rights

Breaches resulted from individual lapses of judgment or careless errors

Accused applied for exclusion of evidence obtained through series of Charter violations. Accused came to police attention when seen photographing fence for G-20 summit. Officer received accused’s identification by claiming accused was being charged with jaywalking, which there was no basis for because he had not been witnessed jaywalking. Accused was investigated and arrested for alleged plans to breach security at G-20. Accused was not given chance to phone counsel for 12 hours, before which he was interviewed by intelligence officers, and gave statements, which were supposed to remain confidential, which ended up in knowledge of investigating officers who used that information to draft warrants to search accused’s cottages and home, where items were found that resulted in more serious charges. Crown conceded that warrants did not authorize seizure of computers and their removal from accused’s home. Accused was not taken before court until more than 24 hours after his arrest. Court concluded that validly seized evidence, namely chemicals and related equipment found in accused’s home, was “obtained in manner” that violated Charter. Evidence not excluded. Court found that officer’s use of ruse was serious error in judgment, not flagrant disregard of accused’s Charter rights, in light of his ultimate purpose and reasonable concern for security at G20 that officer would have in those circumstances. Breaches resulted from individual lapses of judgment or simply careless errors and there was no attempt to hide any Charter breaches from court. Impact on accused of Charter violations was not grave, particularly when court considered evidence that had already been excluded as result of Crown concessions. Evidence at issue was highly probative of serious charges.

R. v. Sonne

(Apr. 23, 2012, Ont. S.C.J., Spies J.) 100 W.C.B. (2d) 876 (28 pp.).

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