WestlawNext Canada insight Blog

Digest of the Week — Obstructing a Peace Officer

R. v. Yussuf |  (WestlawNext Canada)
2014 CarswellOnt 3939 |  
Ontario Court of Justice

Criminal law | Offences | Offences relating to peace officers | Resisting or obstructing public or peace officer | Being in execution of duty

Accused charged with obstructing peace officer — Two bicycle police pulled over accused for talking on his cell phone while driving — Accused did not comply with request for documentation but asked why he was being pulled over in first place — Officer explained again that it was illegal under Highway Traffic Act (Ont.) ("HTA") to talk on phone while driving, and asked again for documents — Accused told officer that he did not have driver's licence and did not have any identification with him — Officer asked him to identify himself verbally and accused refused, again asking why he needed to give officer his information or his name — Officer explained that under HTA any driver had to properly identify themselves or they can be arrested — At this point accused locked door and asked why he would be arrested — Officer eventually thrust his arm into small gap at top of window releasing lock — As he was doing this, accused tried to close window with officer's arm still inside — Officer managed to open door by handle and told accused to exit as he was under arrest — At this point accused did so and he was arrested for "obstruct police" and failing to identify himself — Officers described accused as engaging in circular discussion, being repeatedly told he was being arrested for not identifying himself, and promising to identify himself if he was told why he was arrested — Accused convicted — Court found officers' evidence credible and reliable — Officer was acting in lawful execution of his duty when he sought to have accused identify himself — Accused was under expressed statutory legal duty to identify himself — It was also obvious that accused's omission to identify himself was intentional — Officer could not ticket accused or run his name to decide whether to ticket him until accused complied with his duty — Act of locking door could not form foundation for offence — Latter conduct, attempting to close window, was act capable of supporting obstruction conviction if other elements of offence were satisfied — Former conduct, failure to get out car on command, was omission and could only support obstruction conviction if accused was under legal duty to co-operate — Court found accused knew he was being arrested — Failure by accused to exit car when told to do so to facilitate arrest violated duty not to resist, making it culpable omission capable of supporting conviction — That omission and act (refusing to exit car on demand and attempting to roll up window to prevent officer's entry to car) clearly made things more difficult for officer, who was obstructed by accused in lawful execution of his duty affecting arrest under HTA.
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