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APPEALS - Grounds - Miscarriage of justice

Tuesday, June 08, 2021 @ 6:12 AM  

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Appeal by the accused, Crowe, from impaired care and control of a motor vehicle. Police responded to a 911 call requesting assistance to remove intoxicated individuals from a residence. Police observed a vehicle 30 metres away from the home and decided to investigate. As police approached, the accused exited the vehicle. He was staggering and unsteady. Police detected a strong odour of alcohol and slurred speech. The accused was arrested for impaired care and control and placed in the police vehicle. He subsequently provided breath samples indicating a blood-alcohol level in excess of the legal limit. The accused was self-represented at trial. He alleged police violated his ss. 8 and 9 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) rights by crossing private property to access his vehicle. The trial judge found that the detention and arrest of the accused on private property did not involve a Charter breach, as police had lawful authority to enter in response to the 911 call and reasonable grounds existed to arrest the accused. The accused appealed. 

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The trial judge did not err by concluding that the police officers’ conduct fell within their statutory or common law powers or duties to respond to 911 calls and apprehend offenders engaged in criminal activity unrelated to a 911 call. Approaching the accused’s vehicle was a legitimate part of the investigation into the 911 call. The accused had no reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to the property where he was located, and thus the police did not breach his s. 8 Charter rights when they approached him. The trial judge did not err by failing to find that the accused was arbitrarily detained prior to his formal arrest. The trial judge fulfilled her duty to assist the self-represented accused by doing everything to ensure the accused understood the trial process and was able to advance his defence with full force and effect. In any event, no miscarriage of justice occurred.

R. v. Crowe, [2021] S.J. No. 180, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, J.A. Ryan-Froslie, R. Leurer and J.A. Tholl JJ.A., April 20, 2021. Digest No. TLD-June72021004