WestlawNext Canada insight Blog

Digest of the Week — Anonymous Tip + Evasive Behaviour = Reasonable Suspicion

R. v. Williams |  (WestlawNext Canada)
2013 CarswellOnt 17812 |  (Westlaw Canada)
Ontario Court of Appeal

Criminal law | Charter of Rights and Freedoms | Arbitrary detention or imprisonment [s. 9]
Police, acting on anonymous tip, approached accused on street — Accused did not respond to police questions, turned to his side, and did not comply with demands by police to put his hands up and turn around — Police struggled with accused, during which one officer pulled his shirt up and saw his gun — Accused was convicted of offences arising out of possession of gun and marihuana that police found on him — Accused argued that he was arbitrarily detained, as his conduct was consistent with right to remain silent, and that what happened was not investigative detention but de facto arrest unsupported by any belief that he committed offence — Accused appealed — Appeal dismissed — Police may detain person for investigative purposes if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that person is connected to particular criminal activity, and that such detention is reasonably necessary in circumstances — Reasonable suspicion is grounded in "objectively discernable facts, which could then be subjected to independent judicial scrutiny" — Totality of circumstances must be examined to determine whether reasonable suspicion standard has been met — While tip was not sufficient to satisfy reasonable suspicion standard, it remained important part of circumstances — Combination of anonymous tip and what occurred when accused encountered police was capable of supporting reasonable belief that accused might be connected to gun crime as reported — Police conduct did not infringe s. 9 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — Gun and marihuana were properly admitted as evidence at trial.
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