A Brief Note On The Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms

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Facts Mr. Decanter and Ms. Beaujolais were pulled over because Mr. Decanter was driving 172 kilometres per hour in a 120 kilometre per hour speed zone. When Cst. Schrader approached the vehicle, he observed white powder on the dashboard, which Mr. Decanter insisted was powder from a donut. Mr. Decanter was sweating and acting nervous, so Cst. Schrader detained him before searching the vehicle. He located a bag of cocaine under the driver’s seat. Mr. Decanter was charged with speeding under s. 146 of the Motor Vehicle Act and for possessing a controlled substance under s. 4 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Since the incident, Mr. Decanter paid the traffic fine and has hired our firm to represent him on the possession charge.…show more content…
Decanter’s s. 8 rights were engaged when the search occurred. According to R v Mellenthin, [1992] 3 SCR 615, “a visual inspection of the interior of the vehicle would not in itself constitute a search.” In other words, the officer was legally allowed to look into the vehicle and notice the powder on the dashboard; Mr. Decanter’s s. 8 rights were only evoked when the officer physically searched the vehicle. The court also needs to decide if Mr. Decanter was detained for a valid purpose. He was first detained when Cst. Schrader performed the traffic stop. Ss. 73(1) and 73(2) of the Motor Vehicle Act give peace officers the power to signal a driver to come to a stop and state their name and address, which means the detention was legitimate. In addition, by paying the fine, Mr. Decanter indicated that he accepted responsibility for speeding, which shows that the initial detainment for the driving infraction was lawful. Mr. Decanter was further detained when he was placed in the back of the police vehicle. R v Mann, 2004 SCC 52 informs us that a person can be further detained for investigative purposes if there are reasonable grounds to suspect they are connected to a particular crime. The white powder on the dash would likely be considered sufficient grounds for further investigation. Mr. Decanter was placed under an investigative detention, but was not placed under arrest. Unlike when a
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