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CONTROLLED DRUGS AND SUBSTANCES - Possession - Other substances

Friday, January 31, 2020 @ 7:30 AM  

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Trial of the accused charged with theft and possession of heroin and methamphetamines. A loss prevention associate at a store observed the accused leave the store without paying for boots. The accused was stopped and was asked to return to the store. The loss prevention officer indicated the accused was under arrest. Several unpaid items in the accused’s possession were seized by the officer, who also found a small vile of drugs. The police did not attend at the store until five hours later. The accused spoke with counsel once he was taken to the police station. He was not provided with an interpreter. He testified he had a limited ability to speak English and denied telling police he was satisfied with the advice from duty counsel.

HELD: The accused was convicted of theft and acquitted of the possession charges. The accused’s arrest by the loss prevention officer was lawful. The officer did not hold himself out as a police officer and acted in his private capacity as an employee, and not as an agent of the state, when he arrested the accused. The officer had no duty to inform or implement the accused’s Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) rights. The police unreasonably delayed in advising the accused of his s. 10(b) Charter rights. The accused’s apparent language barrier required the police officer to take additional steps, including enlisting the assistance of a Punjabi speaking officer, to ensure the accused understood his rights. The Charter-infringing conduct was serious. The negative impact of the breaches was moderate. The repute of the administration of justice required exclusion of the drug evidence.

R. v. Singh, [2019] O.J. No. 6277, Ontario Court of Justice, S. Caponecchia J., December 5, 2019. Digest No. TLD-January272020009