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CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES - Resistance or obstruction of a public officer or peace officer

Tuesday, September 03, 2019 @ 10:13 AM  

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Appeal by the Crown from the respondent’s acquittal for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. Two officers were dispatched to the respondent’s residence after a 911 call from a woman at the residence requested police assistance as the respondent was out of control, intoxicated, aggressive and was going to harm himself. The officers heard screaming from inside the residence and saw through the open door that two women were sitting on the agitated respondent to hold him down. One of the women had a fresh cut on her lip. The officers took over from the women. They struggled to handcuff the respondent and remove him from the home. During the struggle from the house to the police car, the respondent kicked one officer’s arm. The trial judge dismissed the charges on the basis the officer exceeded their lawful authority when the events giving rise to the charges occurred. The Summary Conviction Appeal Court judge dismissed the Crown’s appeal on the basis the police exceeded their lawful authority when they forcibly removed the respondent from his home and detained him.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The state of mayhem in the house, the fresh cut on the woman’s lip and the fact two women were sitting on the respondent were circumstances that demonstrated a nexus between the respondent and the offence, past or ongoing, of assault. The reasonable suspicion standard was met by the circumstances that confronted the officers at the respondent’s home. The respondent’s detention was reasonable and not in violation of s. 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The appeal judge erred in law in ruling there was no clear nexus between the respondent and a past or ongoing criminal offence and by failing to assess the overall circumstances of the situation to determine whether the police actions in detaining the respondent were reasonably necessary. The officers’ removal of the respondent to the police car was an appropriate response to the 911 call and the situation that confronted them at the respondent’s home. The respondent was found guilty and granted an absolute discharge.

R. v. Manning, [2019] N.J. No. 226, Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal, D.E. Fry C.J.N.L., L.R. Hoegg and W.H. Goodridge JJ.A., July 19, 2019. Digest No. TLD-September22019002