Legally Yours

R v. Grant Case Law Essay (Canada)

R v. GRANT

2009 SCC 32, [2009] 2 SCR
Case Law EssayInherent in every individual is his constitutional rights as guaranteed by the constitution. The main issue, in this case, is whether or not these rights of an individual take precedence over the public interest in prosecuting a potential criminal. The facts of the case are as follows:

  1. Constables Worrell and Forde, wearing plain clothes and driving an unmarked car, were patrolling on areas near schools for the purpose of monitoring the activities in said areas which are tainted with a history of student assaults, robberies, and drug offenses;
  2. Constable Gomes, a uniformed police, was also in the area for the same purposes and to have a visible police presence for the students’ reassurance;
  3. The accused, Mr. Grant, was walking around the area when Constables Worrell and Forde saw him staring at them and fidgeting with his coat, therefore, arousing their suspicions of Mr. Grant;
  4. Constables Worrell and Forde approached Constable Gomes, urging him to talk with Mr. Grant to determine if there was anything wrong and there was a need for alarm;
  5. Constable Gomes then approached Mr. Grant by standing directly in his intended path and asked him what was going on with him, at some point, and as a result of his nervousness, Mr. Grant adjusted his jacket, prompting Constable Gomes to ask that his hands be put in front of him.;
  6. Constables Worrell and Forde eventually approached them and identified themselves to the accused and took their positions behind Constable Gomes, effectively blocking Mr. Grant’s way;
  7. Constable Gomes then asked Mr. Gomes on whether or not he possesses anything he should not have, to which Mr. Gomes answered that he had a “small bag of weed”, as well as a firearm.
  8. Thereafter, the officers arrested the accused, seized the gun and marijuana, and advised him of his right to counsel before taking him to the police station.

With the foregoing facts, the accused alleged that there have been violations on his rights granted by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically on the right against unreasonable search or seizure The trial judge, however, found that there was no Charter breach and admitted the firearm which led to the conviction of the accused of five firearms offenses. On appeal, the conviction was upheld but the following points were expounded on. First, there was an arbitrary detention on the part of the accused since the detention crystallized and made manifest when Constable Gomes started the conversation with Mr. Grant. Hence, Mr. Grant made his self-incriminating statements when he was under arbitrary detention, in breach of section 9 of the Charter. The firearm, nevertheless, needed to be admitted as evidence, pursuant to the constitutional mandate on safeguarding the repute of the administration of justice[4], since the exclusion of the gun as evidence would be more damaging to the repute of the administration of justice than its admission. The court also found that the conviction of the accused was justified on the ground that his act of moving the gun from one place to another constitutes a “transfer”, as defined in the Criminal Code.

The ultimate issue to be resolved at the case at bar then is on the ambiguity of the provisions of Section 24(2) of the Charter provides:

In order to fully grasp the conflict at hand, one must first define key terms involved in the case. First, the concept of detention; under ss. 9 and 10 of the Charter, detention refers to a suspension of the individual’s liberty interest by a physical or psychological restraint.

The effect of this new rule proposed by the Court did not essentially change the written rule on the exclusion of evidence obtained through a breach of the Charter. A deeper reading into the statute would tell that the rule is not absolute as exemplified by the words “having regard to all circumstances”. This only shows that the circumstances surrounding the case should be considered. In fact, the Court did not change the written law and instead laid down a more specific and narrowed-down guidelines in determining what kind of circumstances should be considered in cases of similar facts. The question here is not whether or not the Court changed the written rule but whether or not these guidelines are adequate enough and adheres to the subject provision [Section 24(2)].

Following the foregoing discussions, it becomes apparent that while it is true that an individual possesses and enjoys rights and freedoms guaranteed by law, these rights and freedoms are still subject to limitations as may be deemed proper in pursuance of the public interest and for the common good. As such, these rights may not be easily invoked if the upholding of the rights may would lead to the disrepute of the administration of justice and the societal confidence in the justice system.

[1] Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 8, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11.

[2] Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 9, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11.

[3] Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 10(b), Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11.

[4] Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 24(2), Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11.

[5] Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 24(2), Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11.

[6] R v Grant, 2009 SCC 32, [2009] 2 SCR

[7] Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46 s 100

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