Police had no legal authority to force accused to produce identification

Criminal Law - Charter of Rights And Freedoms - Arbitrary detention or imprisonment [s. 9]

Accused was in backyard of townhouse with four other men when police entered yard without warrant or consent and demanded identification. Accused was carrying bag and when officer asked what was in bag accused fled. Accused was found to have firearm, drugs and cash. At trial accused sought to have evidence excluded on basis that police infringed his constitutional right to be free from arbitrary detention. Trial judge held that while accused was detained, detention was not arbitrary since police had reasonable grounds to suspect he was armed. Court of Appeal agreed, stating that evidence would not have been excluded even if breach had been found. Accused appealed. Appeal allowed. Police had no legal authority to force accused to produce identification, nature of police conduct was aggressive, and reasonable person would conclude that detention occurred when officers entered yard and started asking questions. Detention was arbitrary because at time of detention police had no reasonable suspicion of recent or ongoing criminal activity.

R. v. Le (2019), 2019 CarswellOnt 8589, 2019 CarswellOnt 8590, 2019 SCC 34, 2019 CSC 34, Wagner C.J.C., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Brown J., and Martin J. (S.C.C.); reversed (2018), 2018 CarswellOnt 756, 2018 ONCA 56, Doherty J.A., P. Lauwers J.A., and David M. Brown J.A. (Ont. C.A.).

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