Criminal Law – Arrest – Reasonable and Probable Grounds
Criminal Law – Controlled Drugs and Substances Act – Possession and Trafficking of Narcotics
Criminal Law – Defences – Charter of Rights, Section 8, Section 9
Criminal Law – Evidence – Confidential Informant
Criminal Law – Firearms
Criminal Law – Proceeds of Crime
The accused was charged with 13 offences on two informations. The charges were as follows: one count of trafficking in cocaine, contrary to s. 5(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA); two counts of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, contrary to s. 5(2) of CDSA; two counts of possessing marihuana, contrary to s. 4(1) of the CDSA; three counts of possessing the proceeds of crime contrary, to ss. 354(1) and 355(b) of the Criminal Code; two counts of unsafe storage of a firearm, contrary to s. 86(2) of the Criminal Code; one count of possessing a sawed-off gun for a purpose dangerous to the public peace, contrary to s. 88 of the Criminal Code; one count of possessing a firearm without a licence to possess it or a registration certificate for the firearm, contrary to s. 91(1) of the Criminal Code; and possessing a firearm knowing it was obtained by the commission of an offence, contrary to s. 96(1) of the Criminal Code. An officer received information from a confidential informant (CI#1) in relation to the accused. CI#1 had provided the officer with information on various crimes between 2007 and 2013, and he considered CI#1 to be extremely credible, having provided information to base judicial authorizations for search warrants six or seven times. CI#1 described the accused and his vehicle and indicated to the officer that he sold cocaine through a dial-a-dope system. CI#1 gave the officer the accused’s cell number used to order drugs. The cell phone number was registered to a false name and nonexistent address. The vehicle was registered to the accused. A second informant, CI#2, provided information to another officer describing the accused, his phone number, and prices for cocaine. Surveillance was conducted on the residence that the vehicle was registered to and the accused and his vehicle were observed. The truck was later observed at an apartment building where two different individuals entered and, shortly thereafter, exited the vehicle one after another. The vehicle then went to a restaurant and officers in unmarked police vehicles boxed in the accused’s vehicle and arrested him. The issues raised on voir dire were as follows: 1) did the officer that ordered and/or made the arrest of the accused have reasonable and probable grounds to make such an arrest; 2) did they have the requisite subjective belief, supported by sufficient objective criteria; and 3) if any of the accused’s rights were breached, then what remedy, if any, should be accorded to the accused.
HELD: The issues were determined as follows: 1) the subjective reasons for the officer’s belief that he had reasonable and probable grounds to make the arrest included a description of the accused, the accused’s vehicle and licence plate, and the cell phone number. The surveillance evidence confirmed the accused at the address the vehicle was registered. Further, individuals were observed entering and exiting the vehicle one after the other. The court found that the officer clearly had the subjective belief on what he felt were objective criteria for reasonable and probable grounds to effect a warrantless arrest of the accused; 2) the court looked at the entire constellation of events and concluded that there were clearly sufficient objective criteria for the individual officers who arrested the accused to have reasonable and probable grounds to believe he was involved in street-level drug trafficking; and 3) the court did not have to address remedy because the warrantless arrest of the accused was found to be lawful.