Ontario Criminal

Charter of Rights

Officers had reasonable grounds to stop truck

Application by accused to exclude evidence on basis that his rights under Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated. Four youths escaped from youth facility. Youths were involved in two police vehicle pursuits and there was rash of thefts from motor vehicles while youths were absent without leave. Police officers saw truck being driven by young male, who was accused, and they stopped vehicle. Officers saw accused move from driver’s seat to middle seat and girl with pigtails moved from middle rear seat into just vacated driver’s seat. One officer asked accused whether he switched seats because his driver’s licence was suspended and accused responded that it was disqualified. Accused produced identification and he was arrested after officer conducted computer search and verified that accused was disqualified driver. Application dismissed. Officers had reasonable grounds to stop truck based on information that was provided to them by other officers about escape. Seat swap, which was extremely suspicious, was fresh and distinctive ground for detaining accused and it allowed officers to make further regulatory inquiries. Crown conceded that officer breached s. 10(b) of Charter and it undertook not to rely upon accused’s admission that he was disqualified driver.

R. v. Field (Feb. 6, 2015, Ont. S.C.J., A.W. Bryant J., File No. 11384) 119 W.C.B. (2d) 461.

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