Ontario Criminal

Charter of Rights

Accused had no reasonable expectation of privacy in his licence plate

Accused, charged with impaired driving, driving over .08, and breach of recognizance by being in care or control of vehicle, applied for exclusion of evidence. Police were patrolling through privately owned commercial parking lot and were conducting random queries of licence plates. One of those queries revealed that vehicle in parking lot was owned by accused. That accused was out on bail for other charges, and that one of his release conditions was that he not operate or have care or control of motor vehicle. Police stopped accused’s motor vehicle as it was about to exit parking lot. Accused was arrested for breach of recognizance and later for impaired operation of motor vehicle. Accused provided two breath samples which recorded 150. Application dismissed; accused convicted. Accused had no reasonable expectation of privacy in his licence plate or in information that police received following query of licence plate. There was no evidence that accused had subjective expectation of privacy and no cause to conclude that objectively reasonable person would have expectation of privacy. Licence plate was affixed to vehicle for all persons to plainly see. Information revealed by query was limited to who owned vehicle as well as accused’s outstanding charges and bail conditions. Accused had no control over that information and no authority or ability to restrict other person’s access to that information.

R. v. McGill (Sep. 11, 2013, Ont. S.C.J., Conlan J., File No. CR-13-31) 109 W.C.B. (2d) 161.

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