Ontario Criminal

Criminal Law

Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Charter remedies [s. 24]

Trial judge did not overemphasize seriousness of offences

Accused was convicted of possession of loaded prohibited firearm, possession of cocaine for purpose of trafficking, and dangerous driving following high risk, vehicular police take-down triggered by confidential informant’s tip. Trial judge found that police violated accused’s rights under ss. 7 to 10 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but admitted evidence of handgun and drugs seized from accused’s vehicle incident to arrest on basis that admission of evidence would not bring administration of justice into disrepute. Accused appealed convictions, alleging that trial judge erred in his s. 24(2) Charter analysis. Appeal dismissed. Trial judge did not overemphasize seriousness of offences by placing particular significance on public interest in prosecution of firearm charges. Trial judge committed no error in his consideration of Grant factors and, absent error, his weighing of those factors was entitled to deference. While impact of breaches on accused’s Charter rights favoured exclusion of evidence, societal interest in adjudicating case on merits tipped balance in favour of admission. Trial judge did not give undue weight to that factor and fact that firearm was involved. He did not err in viewing fact that police obtained two warrants to search different vehicle associated with accused as being indicative of good faith. His factual assessment of officers’ conduct and his conclusion that they acted in good faith was entitled to deference. Trial judge accepted officers’ testimony that they considered informant’s tip that accused was in possession of firearm to be reliable. Judicial officers concluded that informant’s tip provided reasonable and probable grounds to believe that accused was in possession of firearm and that it would be found in his vehicle.

R. v. Allen (2017), 2017 CarswellOnt 2710, 2017 ONCA 170, E.A. Cronk J.A., Paul Rouleau J.A., and B.W. Miller J.A. (Ont. C.A.).

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