Supreme Court

Charter of Rights

Late ticket purchase in cash consistent with behaviour of drug couriers


Accused charged with possession of cocaine for purpose of trafficking. Accused bought one-way plane ticket on day of flight and paid in cash. Accused checked locked suitcase on flight. Police believed that accused’s late ticket purchase in cash was consistent with behaviour of drug couriers. Police accordingly conducted dog sniff search of accused’s suitcase together with other randomly selected bags. Dog indicated presence of drugs in accused’s bag and in nearby cooler. Accused arrested and bag forced open revealing 3 kilograms of cocaine. Trial judge allowed accused’s application to exclude seized cocaine on basis that search violated his right under s. 8 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Court of Appeal found search reasonable and ordered new trial. Appeal dismissed. Police had a reasonable suspicion that accused was drug courier based on totality of circumstances. Sniffer dog was demonstrated to be reliable. Search was not unreasonable.

R. v. Chehil

(Sep. 27, 2013, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., LeBel J., Fish J., Abella J., Rothstein J., Cromwell J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., and Wagner J., File No. 34524) Decision at 97 W.C.B. (2d) 173 was affirmed. 109 W.C.B. (2d) 367.

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