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June 2016 Archives

COURT RULING MAKES IT EASIER TO BOOT DRUG EVIDENCE

In R. v. McGuffie 2016 ONCA 365, the Ottawa Police Service received a telephone from a downtown bar advising that a group of five men in the bar had been seen passing a handgun around. McGuffie walked away quickly from the bar. The officer followed him and caught up to McGuffie a short distance from the bar. The officer told McGuffie that he was being detained because he believed he had a handgun. McGuffie denied having a handgun. The detaining officer placed McGuffie in the back of another officer's police car, and the detaining officer returned to the bar to assist other officers in searching for the handgun. He removed him from the cruiser and did another search and he found "a package of white powder in a rectangular shape" identified as cocaine. McGuffie was also strip searched back at the station. The ONCA ruled that the initial detention of McGuffie on the street was a lawful exercise of the police power, but police infringed his s. 9 right by placing him in the cruiser for 30 minutes. The Court addressed the issue of 24(2).

Sentencing for drug offences

Drug offences are a unique set of offences in Canada, and are criminalized under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) as opposed to the Criminal Code like most other criminal offences. This also means that drug offences are prosecuted not by the local provincial Crown's office, but rather by Federal Crowns from the Public Prosecutions Services of Canada (PPSC).

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